I am 30 years old, healthy, and happily living with my partner and our two-year-old boy in Texas. Now that I have my own family, I've been wanting to learn about how I can take care of them in case the worst happens.
I am completely clueless about estate planning. I do not have a will. I don't even know what a "trust" is, or if I should have one. I was wondering if you could help me get started on the right path to doing "estate planning" the right way.
Here's a brief synopsis of my family and financial situation:
My partner and I have been together for over 5 years, and our very happy with our relationship as is. We have kept our finances separate. We have our own individual bank accounts and retirement accounts. We've discussed marriage before a handful of times, and we agree that the only thing that would change about our relationship is the tax-filing status. Perhaps there are some other benefits we're not aware of.
We are currently renting; however, we are looking to buy a house within the next year. My partner has been unable to find work during the pandemic since we moved here a year ago, so I will be the one saving for the downpayment and paying the mortgage, bills, etc. Should I include her name on the mortgage when we buy? She owns a condo in Colorado and rents it out.
Below are the assets I have that come to mind as something I could leave for my partner and son:
- Bank accounts: my own (not joint).
- Brokerage account: individual (not joint)
- Retirement accounts: I have a 401k and Roth IRA. I have named my son as the beneficiary to both of these accounts
- I am one-third partner in an LLC with my two brothers. We inherited a few small properties when our father passed away. We rent them for passive income. This was set up before I met my partner. If I go, I've considered giving away my third to my partner and son
If I go, I'm currently thinking of naming our son as my primary beneficiary. Since my partner is his mother, I'm assuming she would naturally be "managing" the assets until he comes of age. Perhaps this assumption is wrong, however.
Thank you for the advice!