In many marriages, each spouse fulfills a certain role and takes on certain responsibilities. This is often especially true when it comes to financial matters. In addition to paying monthly bills and managing a monthly budget, a more financially-savvy spouse is also more likely to take on the decision-maker role when it comes to estate planning matters.
While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this arrangement, it’s important to consider what would happen if the spouse who made all of the estate planning decisions was involved in a serious car accident and suffered brain damage or passed away. Would the other spouse understand how an estate plan prepared for such an event or even how to find out?
This hypothetical scenario is just one example of why it’s so important that both spouses play an active role in the estate planning process and in making related decisions.
According to a survey conducted by NerdWallet, a whopping 73 percent of married adults with children were unaware of whether a spouse would prefer to be buried or cremated. If spouses aren’t discussing these types of fairly basic estate planning issues it’s also highly likely that they aren’t discussing other more complex matters like the terms of a life insurance policy or the specific details of a living will.
While discussing issues related to a spouse’s, as well as one’s own, mortality can certainly be difficult, failing to do so may result in a surviving husband or wife suffering even more heartache and stress. For these reasons, married couples of all ages are advised to get on the same page and become informed about important estate planning issues that ultimately impact and affect both of their lives.
Source: USA Today, “5 ways couples can tackle estate planning now,” Barbara Marquand, Nov. 14, 2015
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