At the beginning of marriage, most couples do not want to think about the possibilities of anything other than continued wedded bliss. However, all couples must face the reality that the unexpected is possible. Part of this reality is to discuss and share feelings and facts about creating an estate plan. When it comes to estate planning, Michigan couples need to not only understand each other’s wishes but also which steps to take together to ensure those wishes are fulfilled.

First and foremost, having the right documents and plans in place is important. This includes disclosing life insurance information and deciding how much is enough. Even if one spouse is a stay-at-home parent, life insurance is needed. A will must then be drafted, and sadly, many adults, even those with minor children, have not taken this step. This could leave others, including a spouse, to guess what should be done with assets or even which funeral arrangements may be wanted.

After documents are signed, wills are drafted and other necessary documents are created, each person must know where these important documents are located. One spouse may be the organizer and know this information, while the other does not realize where account numbers, wills or policies are even stored. Both parties should be aware of the secure location of these documents and polices, and creating a one-page guide may be the key to keep necessary parties informed.

While every estate plan is different, couples in Michigan have shared interests and will most likely want to ensure the other person is cared for properly. Communication and full disclosure is key when it comes to these complicated issues. Also, keeping each other aware of any changes made or changes that are needed will also prevent confusion or mismanagement of any aspect of a person’s estate.

Source: USA Today, “5 ways couples can tackle estate planning now“, Barbara Marquand, Nov. 14, 2015

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