What Every Couple Needs To Know About Estate Planning

What Every Couple Needs To Know About Estate Planning

September 11, 2020 Off By Glespynorson

As of 2017, 60 percent of Americans didn’t have any form of estate plan in place.

Yet, estate planning is one of the most important things you’ll ever do in your lifetime. After you pass on, you don’t want your family members to start fighting over your estate, right?

If you’re married, you’re probably wondering how the process of creating an estate plan changes for you. Should you involve your spouse or leave them out?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’re sharing a guide that’ll help you understand how to approach estate planning as a couple.

Understand Inheritance Laws In Your State

Every state has its own unique set of inheritance laws that determine how a person’s estate is distributed after they pass on.

Having a good understanding of the laws in your state is a good place to start when you’re looking into estate planning. In most states, your next of kin are entitled to an inheritance, sometimes regardless of what you’ve expressed in a will. And in the absence of a will, it’s these laws that will determine who gets what.

As a couple, you need to know how these laws affect your plans. Perhaps you’re a husband who wants to leave everything to the wife and leave out the kids. Does the law allow you to do this?

Individually-Owned Assets Vs Joint Assets

The topic of personal versus joint assets typically comes up during divorce cases, but it’s also an important consideration when you’re making an estate plan.

You see, as an individual, you have complete control over how to distribute your assets, as long as you’re the sole owner. In marriage, though, it can be difficult to differentiate between personal and joint assets, especially if you didn’t enter into a prenup agreement before getting married. A prenup is an important document, especially for engaged couples.

It’s advisable to sit together and identify what you own jointly as a couple. You can then draw a joint will.

Joint wills are just like other types of will in terms of legal meaning and execution, only that they have two (or more) makers. In most cases, a joint will ensures that the estate goes to the surviving spouse, and after the surviving spouse passes on, it goes to the children.

Think Of Your Changing Family Situation/Dynamics

If you create a will as a couple today, there’s no guarantee that things won’t change a couple of years down the road. Perhaps there’ll be a new family member (child) or you’d have lost another one.

A separation or divorce can also happen. You could also secure new assets.

When planning your estate as a couple, it’s important to consider the possibility of things changing. The best solution to this is to create a will that can be updated as things change.

Estate Planning For Couples: An Important Step

Most couples don’t have an estate plan because they haven’t’ thought about the possibility of death. Or they think they don’t have enough assets.

Regardless of your reasons, estate planning is incredibly important. From fleshing out your asset distribution wishes to appointing legal guardians for your children, you have every reason to create it. Use this article as a guide.

Keep reading our blog for more tips on family law and estate planning.