If you’re planning your estate with your spouse, we found a helpful story that outlines the 8 common estate planning goals of other married couples. We think knowing these objectives may help you to create your own estate plan.
“Estate planners still struggle with how to structure estate plans for married couples,” writes Lewis Saret. “If you asked 10 couples what their objectives are, you’d probably get 10 different answers, but if you look deeper you’ll find most couples share the same goals.”
1. Provide for Loved Ones The most common goal is providing for your spouse if you become incapacitated or pass away. Married couples also want to provide for their children (especially minors), grandchildren and other loved ones.
2. Minimize Taxes All married couples want to maximize the amount of assets going to their loved ones. This means minimizing taxes like Federal and State estate tax and Federal and State income tax.
3. Protect Assets Every couple wants to protect assets going to their surviving spouses and children from creditors and future spouses (in case of divorce).
4. Privacy Recently there’s been an increase in elderly people being targeted by fraudulent schemes. A solid estate plan can protect a married couple’s privacy, which may help protect the surviving spouse from being a target.
5. Control over Assets All couples want control over their assets until ‘death do us part.’ Couples then typically prefer to give their children control. This must be balanced against their desire to protect their assets upon passing against claims of creditors.
6. Asset Management If a married person is skilled at managing their assets, they want to put a fund management system in place for when they’re no longer capable of managing their family’s assets.
7. Incapacity Although most couples only think about death when planning their estate, dealing with incapacity is also very important. This involves creating Advance Directives, Living Wills and insurance planning.
8. Simple and Inexpensive Well-crafted estate plans will almost always involve at least some level of complexity. Most couples prefer their estate plan to balance all of their objectives rather than merely be simple. Remember, a plan that’s cost effective may not be the least expensive to implement.
Read the story here.