“With Valentine’s Day being in February, why not show the person in your life how much you really care by getting your estate plan in order?” says Weston Hurd partner Jay Nabors, who focuses on estate planning.
A lot of married people push estate planning to the back burner, figuring their spouse will automatically get everything if they die. That’s not the case, Jay says. “If not set up correctly, probate court may have to get involved in finalizing your estate, which can be costly.”
Another often-overlooked area is beneficiary designations. “People who get married for the second time, or later in life, forget they’ve named someone else as beneficiary on retirement documents or even a checking account. When I got married, I had completely forgotten I’d listed my mom as beneficiary on my checking account when I opened it. If something were to happen to me, everything in that account would have gone to my mother instead of my wife. Fortunately they get along, and it wouldn’t have been an issue, but that’s not always the case. That’s why it’s important to meet with someone like me to go over all of your records and accounts to make sure everything is current.”
It’s also important to make sure property is titled properly to avoid probate, and that your powers of attorney are in place so your spouse can access the funds he or she needs to pay bills, and make life or death decisions on your behalf.
As seen in the February 2022 issue of Mimi Vanderhaven.