5 Things to Discuss with Your Spouse Before Estate Planning

If you are married and considering doing your estate plan, there are some discussions you should have with your spouse.

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If you and your spouse are considering doing your estate plan, we recommend that you discuss the following items:

  1. How do you want your money and assets handled if one of you dies? Do you want any restrictions? Are you worried about your spouse remarrying and being influenced by the spouse? It is important to know how you want your money to be managed when one spouse dies, especially if you have minor children.
  2. If you have minor children, who will be their guardian? This is a very difficult discussion to have, but better to make this decision than leave it up to the probate court.
  3. Upon your death, where do you want your money, house, etc. to go? Do you want it to go to family, children, friends, charities, etc.? And do you want it given all at once? Or staggered? We typically recommend distributing money to children at certain ages, instead of in a lump sum.
  4. Who will handle your affairs when you die? You need to appoint someone to be your trustee. This will be the person that you name to follow the instructions laid out in your estate plan regarding distribution or other plans you have set forth. This is usually your spouse first, then the most responsible person you know.
  5. Who will make decisions for you if you are incapacitated? Usually, clients designate their spouse as their power of attorney for both health and financial issues. If your spouse is already incapacitated or predeceases you, who would you want to handle these issues? It can be the same person, or different people, to handle medical and financial people.

These are some of the decisions you should discuss with your spouse. We often help our clients walk through these decisions and provide further guidance as we draft their documents.

If you are not married, you will still need to give consideration to the above list prior to meeting with your estate planning attorney.

Contact us today to help you get the right documents in place or to update your current estate plan. We will plan so that you don’t have to worry about your future.   

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