Estate planning is an important process that both spouses should undertake. Too often, one spouse takes the lead in this process, and the other is left in the dark. This can lead to problems down the road if something happens to the first spouse.
We’ll discuss why both spouses should be involved in the planning and the consequences of not stating your final wishes.
What is an estate plan?
An estate plan is a set of legal documents that detail the distribution of your assets when you die, assigning powers of attorney and healthcare proxies, making decisions about life support, setting up trusts, and deciding guardianship if you have any dependents.
By taking the time to plan for what will happen to their assets after death, spouses make sure their loved ones are cared for and will carry out their wishes. While one spouse can handle the entire estate planning process, both spouses are generally advised to be involved. That way, each spouse can have a say in what happens to their assets and be sure that their wishes will be respected.
Additionally, both spouses will have a better understanding of the estate plan and will be able to provide support and assistance to each other if necessary.
If you die without a will in Texas, your assets will be distributed according to the state’s estate code that differentiates between “separate property” (assets acquired before marriage) and “community property” (assets acquired during marriage). If there are any disputes among family members after your death, your assets could end up in probate and lead to hurt feelings and costly court proceedings.
A joint estate plan gives you peace of mind knowing that the assets in your estate are handled as you desire and distributed quickly and efficiently. If you have not already done so, consider creating a joint estate plan with your spouse today. It could be one of the best decisions you ever make.