Brought to you by: Community Partner Bradford & Holliman
In February, our thoughts may turn to valentines, hearts, flowers, and candy, but estate planning attorneys think of other ways to express love.
For engaged couples, estate planning attorneys often advise an assessment of all accounts and assets to see if any title or beneficiary changes are needed. It’s common for new couples to keep many premarital assets in their individual names only, but a good estate planning attorney can help couples understand that such a plan is often a good strategic move, not necessarily a lack of trust in each other. Next comes the full review or creation of wills, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives.
For couples heading into second marriages, it is advisable to share the details of all divorces, alimonies, custody details, and child support. Next should be a full review and update of wills, healthcare directives, powers of attorney especially financial and healthcare, and beneficiaries. Guardian choices for minor children and agents such as your executor or personal representative and your backup agent are extremely important to review and possibly update.
For older couples with decades of marriage behind them, it is a good time to review your entire estate plans and agents such as executors, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and long-term care plans. Older couples are often surprised by how many aspects of their estate plans become obsolete in just three to five years due to changing family members from divorces or deaths. And tax and estate rules and laws change most years, too.
You may find that children and even grandchildren have developed expertise that makes them better choices as your agents in your estate plans. Or heirs may have developed such spendthrift habits or married spendthrifts that you may need your attorney to help you protect the assets you plan to bequeath to them.
Having a well-thought out and current estate plan is better than valentines, flowers, or candy because of the peace of mind both members of a couple experience. It is one more way to be in sync with your beloved spouse and family.
-Melanie B. Holliman, JD
Partner at Bradford & Holliman
Estate Planning, Trusts & Special Needs
No representation is made that the quality of the legal service to be performed is greater than the quality of service performed by other lawyers.
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