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Dealing with estate planning when one spouse is reluctant

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2016 | Firm News, Wills |

One issue that may arise for Ohio couples regarding estate planning is that one spouse may be anxious to do so while the other spouse might be resistant. That resistant spouse may not realize that dying intestate could mean stepchildren, step-grandchildren or others whom the spouse would want to receive assets might get nothing.

However, even if pointing these facts out is unsuccessful, there are other steps people can take. For example, they can learn as much as possible about their joint assets and their spouse’s individual assets. By having a complete list of that spouse’s investments, policies and other accounts and how to access them, an individual may be better prepared if they survive that spouse and become the executor of their estate.

People can also take steps to create an estate plan independently of their spouse although it will be limited. Their estate plan does not affect any assets that are jointly held, but an individual can create a will or a trust for any individually held property. They can also make preparations in case they become incapacitated including a power of attorney to appoint someone to handle their financial affairs and documentation dealing with health care wishes.

Some people might not realize how many tools are available to customize an estate plan to their needs, and this knowledge might also persuade an individual who is reluctant to begin working on an estate plan. For example, if there is a loved one who is disable, a special needs trust can be set up that will not interfere with eligibility for government assistance. People may want to create a will that appoints guardians for their minor children or talk to an attorney about how their estate planning can reduce the amount of taxes their beneficiaries will pay.

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