If you asked 10 different couples what their estate planning objectives are, you would probably receive 10 different answers. However, upon deeper probing, you would discover that most married couples share the same basic estate planning objectives.
It is sometimes hard to get a plan for the estate straight, even when you have find the time to quietly reflect on your hopes and dreams for the future. Certainly, planning is easier when you and your spouse agree but there is much to think about, values to weigh and options to select. When a married couple engages in estate planning, just what should their objectives be?
How, where and why do married couples come together in their planning and what values or strategies should they work to support? There is no one answer because this has everything to do with the couple, their assets, their loves ones, and their many objectives. Forbes offered a helpful little list of eight common objectives for married couples planning their estates in a recent article titled “Eight Common Estate Planning Objectives Of Married Couples.”
The article lays out the general principles and offers a bit more explanation for each:
- Providing for loved ones
- Minimize taxes
- Protect assets passing to surviving spouses/heirs
- Keeping plans simple and inexpensive
- Ensuring privacy
- Ensuring continuing control over assets
- Planning for possible incapacity
- Asset management
As the original article notes, you might not find the need to follow one objective or another. However, simply looking through the list and considering the common objectives can be a useful exercise. Knowing what is not important is sometimes just as useful as knowing what is of importance, for example. Fundamentally, thinking along these lines will help you and your spouse discuss goals you wish to accomplish. Only when you know your specific goals can you begin to really talk about the means by which to reach them. Begin a conversation with your spouse and with competent estate planning legal counsel who can help find the tools to accomplish your goals.
You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.
Reference: Forbes (May 13, 2014) “Eight Common Estate Planning Objectives Of Married Couples”