Estate planning isn't exactly my idea of fun, but it's absolutely necessary. Just like you're planning for retirement, you need to plan for the inevitable.
If you have taken the vow of “until death do us part,” have you considered what will happen if you are no longer here? Does your spouse know and understand your estate plan? Will your spouse be able to manage what you leave behind?
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 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:
- How well does my spouse know our financial adviser?
- Does my spouse know where all our accounts are located and how to access them?
- 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.
Reference: DailyFinance (May 2, 2014) “3 Important Estate Planning Questions”