Estate Planning Tactics to Be Used by Couples

Law Firm Newswire



Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 15, 2016 – The last thing that couples wish to think about is the possibility of the death of a spouse.

However, failing to prepare for that eventuality can only make matters worse if it occurs. According to a NerdWallet survey of over 2,000 married adults, one in three couples is without life insurance. Among those who have life insurance, 43 percent state that they would not be financially ready if their spouse died.

In order to offer some semblance of security for one’s family, there are some steps that couples can take to prepare themselves for the loss of a spouse. Although an individual have life insurance through one’s employer, that may be an insufficient amount of coverage for families, and one could lose the policy in the event of a job change.

Prominent Virginia estate planning attorney Lisa McDevitt said, “In addition to updating life insurance beneficiary designations, married couples should consider titling jointly owned property as tenancy by the entirety, which offers protection to both spouses from one spouse’s creditors who would like to attach the assets.”

In order to determine the correct amount of insurance needed, one should add one’s long-term financial obligations, including mortgage and other debts, child-rearing expenses, such as daycare costs and college tuition, and yearly income. Multiply the sum of these by the number of years one would like to replace it. From this amount, subtract any assets, including savings and life insurance. Even if one parent remains at home, it is advisable for both parents to have life insurance. One should include the costs of replacing the services that a spouse contributes to the family.

One should also comprehend the details of a spouse’s life insurance policy. Such details include the company that has the policy, the reason it was purchased, the amount of coverage it provides, the cost of the coverage, the expiration of the policy and the deadline for conversion of term coverage to permanent life insurance. It is recommended that one review one’s life insurance coverage on a yearly basis to ensure that the policy still complies with one’s needs, and confirm that the beneficiaries named in the policy are accurate.

In addition, couples are advised to write a will stating the beneficiaries of one’s assets upon one’s death. One should also designate an executor or personal representative to manage one’s estate, and a guardian for one’s children. If there is no will, the estate will be settled in accordance with the inheritance laws of the state in which one resides.

Furthermore, one should keep all of one’s financial records and emergency contacts in a safe place that is easily accessible by both spouses. People are also advised to communicate with their spouses about their final wishes concerning burial and cremation. Instructions regarding one’s preferences can be included in the estate planning documents.

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