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What Couples Should Discuss When Creating an Estate Plan

Although estate planning seems like a daunting task for many couples, it doesn’t have to be if they take the time to plan for the future and ask the right questions. If you and your significant other want to make sure that your assets and personal wishes are respected if you pass away or become incapacitated, then consider the following to help you navigate important estate planning decisions.

How to Provide for Minor Children

Have you and your partner discussed how your minor children will be cared for if you both pass away? Parents need two crucial legal documents to properly provide for their children: a will and a revocable living trust. The will specifies the individual who will be responsible for caring for your children, while the revocable living trust specifies how your assets should be managed and distributed to your minor children.

Choosing a legal guardian for your minor children requires significant thought, which is why many couples compile a list of potential candidates and discuss the responsibilities with them to gauge if they can fulfill all of their legal duties and other responsibilities that will be expected of them if one or both parents pass away or become incapacitated.

Choosing Trustees

The trustee is the person who will make sure your wishes for distribution are carried out. The trustee is responsible for overseeing your assets and the assets of your loved ones. Although you can select a trustworthy friend or family member, some people choose a professional/corporate trustee to serve as a trustee so that they know a qualified professional is handling their affairs.

The trustee is also responsible for filing tax returns, issuing regular statements, and keeping accurate records of trust account activity. Trustees can hire any professional they need to assist in their duties including a financial advisor, accountant, or lawyer.

If you are choosing a trustee, you should consider whether the person can separate their personal feelings and interests from the best interests of the beneficiaries and your wishes.

Choosing Beneficiaries

A primary goal of estate planning is to divide and transfer all of your assets to your family and loved ones. Although this concept is simple, estate planning matters become very complicated if you and your spouse do not agree on which beneficiaries receive which assets.

Partners sometimes disagree on whether they want their assets to be divided equally among the children or by varying percentages, this is especially true with blended families. Some only want to include family members, while others might want to distribute some assets to long-time family friends and/or charities.

Couples should speak openly about which beneficiaries they want to receive assets, and once they make their decisions, they may also speak to each beneficiary so that there won't be any surprises.

If you have questions about setting up a revocable living trust, or any other estate planning documents, then please get in touch with our firm today so we can discuss your situation. Call (262) 214-6827 or contact us online to request a case consultation with our compassionate legal team.

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