Estate Planning when Married in Southwest Missouri
Serving Families and Individuals throughout Southwest Missouri and the Surrounding Areas
Unfortunately, many married couples mistakenly believe that they can make personal, health care and financial decisions for one another should either spouse become legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness. Nothing could be further from reality for estate planning when married in Southwest Missouri.
Without proper estate planning in advance to appoint your spouse as the incapacity decision-maker, he or she will not have legal authority to make even fundamental decisions for you (or affecting both of you). For example, medical privacy laws will bar access to your medical records and the ability to consult with your attending physician, financial laws limit control over your finances, and IRS regulations will prohibit filing a “legal” joint income tax return … for starters.
Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper estate planning, then a probate judge will select one for you. While the judge will likely appoint your spouse, the probate court process to accomplish this is expensive, discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record and is a real burden for your spouse.
An Estate Plan is simply part of being a grown-up.
As life throws curve balls your way (as life always will) a complete estate plan keeps you and your children protected. While “who gets what and when” are important aspects of estate planning, the primary purpose of my estate planning process is to empower clients to make important choices now so their family will always be ready to weather life’s storms.
Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, your assets may be distributed after death based on “one-size-fits-all” state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers may not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your spouse and assets. In fact, depending on how you titled your premarital assets and how your beneficiary designations are arranged, you may disinherit your own spouse and force your spouse to sue your estate!
But there is good news! You can take control and be assured that you’ve made the rules of what will happen when the unexpected happens.
Our office provides Complete Estate Plans for couples.Whether you’ve been married 60 years or just recently hitched, we can take care your needs and are experienced in guiding couples through the unique challenges they face when estate planning.
So, act now before it is too late.
We even help you coordinate the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement plans with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences. Contact us today!