Estate planning is creating a set of instructions that specify how property is handled after death, and how property and health care decisions are handled during a period of incapacity. Proper estate planning is important for everyone. But for unmarried partners–opposite sex or same sex–it is critical. Part One of this two-part article will address some issues for unmarried partners to consider for after-death estate planning.

Avoid the State Default Plan
In a way, everyone has an estate plan. For those who haven’t created one, the state has a default plan. Assets will probably go through a court process called intestate (no Will) probate. And a state’s default plan is probably not what most people want. State laws vary, but generally, they direct assets to the closest family members. How a state determines who