Since you’re married, one thing you’ve considered is having an estate plan with your spouse. Is that possible, though? If you do choose this route, is it really what’s best for you?
Interestingly, it is possible to share an estate plan with your spouse. This is because you and your spouse will share assets like retirement accounts and bank accounts, so knowing about those shared assets is important as you plan.
Married couples tend to make their estate plans together, but it’s also not necessary to do so if you want to have a separate plan.
Why might it be beneficial to have your estate plan designed as a couple?
One reason that you may want to design your estate plan together is because it’s easier for you to work out how you want to designate assets or who you want to add as beneficiaries for your shared assets. You and your spouse work together in marriage, so it also makes sense to work together when addressing end-of-life concerns and what happens after one of you passes away.
Many couples work out arrangements that pass on all assets to their spouses upon their death. They may decide to set up their spouse as a health care power of attorney or financial power of attorney instead of relying on someone outside their marriage.
It is also possible to work together on portions of your estate plan but to still have some separate documents to protect yourself. For example, you may want to work out your own health care wishes separately from those of your spouse. You might want to set up a trust that doesn’t involve your spouse or set up beneficiary designations that don’t go to your spouse as well.
Working together on an estate plan keeps married couples on the same page
It is true that working together on your estate planning documents will help you and your spouse understand both of your wishes. When you plan together, you can both ask questions and clarify concerns, giving you a better understanding of what each of you wants as you age together.