Special issues for couples in estate planning

Many families often have to deal with an unexpected loss. It can be an extremely difficult time, emotionally, and this can be made much worse if the individual does not have an estate plan in place. It can lead to a significant financial burden for a family that has other more pressing concerns.

When spouses consider what might be necessary to create a comprehensive estate plan, they have to consider all of the possibilities that can arise when one passes away. This includes taking steps to provide for the surviving spouse, as well as any children that the couple may have. Failing to draft these documents properly could lead to serious problems for those that are depending upon these resources.

If each spouse has separate accounts, the surviving spouse may not be able to access these resources right away. Couples should be sure that all of their financial information is recorded when the estate plan is created, so that they know where all of the accounts are located. It may be beneficial for spouses to have a joint account with sufficient money to cover any unexpected expenses.

Spouses should pay particularly close attention to the tax implications that can arise after the husband or wife dies. There are special exemptions on assets that allow spouses to transfer this property to one another without having to deal with taxes. When one of the spouses passes away, the surviving spouse should have the plan examined to learn how to protect the remaining assets from being overtaxed when he or she dies.

Additionally, if one of the spouses has previously been divorced or has been married more than one time, it will be necessary to make changes to the estate plan. These couples should talk to an experienced attorney about creating documents that will meet their needs.

Source: Forbes, "Nine things women should know about estate planning."

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