Estate Planning Objectives For Married Couples / York, PA

Bigstock-Couple-running-bookshop-13904324If you asked 10 different couples what their estate planning objectives are, you would probably receive 10 different answers. However, upon deeper probing, you would discover that most married couples share the same basic estate planning objectives.

It is sometimes hard to get a plan for the estate straight, even when it is just you, just your hopes, and just a pad and pen. While you may be of one mind (literally), there is much to think about, values to weigh, and options to select. What of married couples? However close, married couples are not just of “one” mind and, accordingly, as a couple will have that much more to think through and plan. As a married couple planning for your estates, what should your objectives be?

How, where and why do married couples come together in their planning and what values or strategies should they work to support? There is no one answer because this has everything to do with the couple, their assets, their loves ones, and their many hopes besides. Nevertheless, even unique couples can find themselves pursuing common objectives by one tool or another. Forbes offered a helpful little list of eight common objectives for married couples planning their estates in a recent article titled “Eight Common Estate Planning Objectives Of Married Couples.

The article pegs the eight along general principles and offers a bit more explanation for each:

1.      Providing for loved ones

2.      Minimize taxes

3.      Protect assets passing to surviving spouses/heirs

4.      Keeping plans simple and inexpensive

5.      Ensuring privacy

6.      Ensuring continuing control over assets

7.      Planning for possible incapacity

8.      Asset management

As the original article notes, you might not find the need to follow one objective or another. However, simply looking through the list and considering the common objectives can be a useful exercise. Knowing what is not important is sometimes just as useful as knowing what is of importance, for example. Fundamentally, thinking along these lines will help you and your spouse discuss goals you wish to accomplish. Only when you know your specific goals can you begin to really talk about the means by which to reach them.

Begin a conversation with your spouse and with competent estate planning legal counsel who can help find the tools to accomplish your goals.

For more information about estate planning objective for married couples, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Forbes (May 13, 2014) “Eight Common Estate Planning Objectives Of Married Couples


Is Your Spouse In On The Plan? / York, PA

Bigstock-Attractive-Mixed-Race-Couple-P-9992345Make sure your spouse knows your financial advisor and account information before you die.

As traditional wedding vows put it “until death do us part,” but do husbands and wives really consider what will become of their better half if widowed? If you are married, does your spouse know and understand your estate plan? Will your spouse be able to manage what you leave behind? How do you set your affairs in order together and come to a shared understanding of the plan?

Estate planning for married persons begins with thinking about the future security of your spouse in a world without you. In many ways, you likely assume that your spouse is prepared to take over. However, this is a potentially dangerous assumption and one that should not be taken for granted. In fact, many things can go awry, both practically and legally, unless you and your spouse have specifically talked them over.

If you are the one in charge of the finances and maybe also much of the planning, then there is a special responsibility and difficulty in making sure your spouse is on the same page. As noted in a recent DailyFinance article, ensure that your spouse has the keys to the process and knows whom to contact and how to get the gears turning.

The original article, titled “3 Important Estate Planning Questions,” offers three questions to push you in this direction:

1.      How well does my spouse know our financial adviser?

2.      Does my spouse know where all our accounts are located and how to access them?

3.      Are our wills and beneficiary designations up-to-date?

How else do you plan for your spouse if you make an early exit, let alone your own golden days of growing old together? That is a much bigger question and one best discussed with your spouse and competent estate planning counsel.

While the right plan will vary from couple to couple, the right plan must be known and understood so it can be successfully implemented.

For more information about estate planning for married persons, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: DailyFinance (May 2, 2014) “3 Important Estate Planning Questions

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