Why Married Couples Should Discuss All of Their Estate Planning Goals

Minnesota Probate Law  Payment of DebtsMost Minnesota estate planning attorneys encourage couples to create separate Wills since many of them enter marriage with separate property and others inherit it later on.

In addition, a number of today’s newlyweds often have children from prior marriages that they’d like to provide for in the future — and creating separate Wills makes this much easier.

Regardless of your age upon marrying, you and your spouse can more easily achieve your various estate planning and financial goals by discussing them prior to obtaining separate Wills. This often proves crucial since both spouses often work for many years and need to make early decisions about setting up employer-sponsored 401(k) and other benefits.

Your early discussions can facilitate saving up for discretionary travels and even a possible second, vacation home. Your Minnesota estate planning attorney can help you get started by explaining the different types of estate planning tools that are currently available.

Critical Topics Couples Should Discuss Regarding Their Estate-Planning Goals

  • Decisions involving any children you may have. Apart from discussing how many children, if any, you may want, it’s important to realize that you’ll need to agree on the best ways to provide for your children’s education – preferably in a manner that won’t interfere with your retirement savings plans. You should even specifically discuss what percentage of your children’s college or graduate school expenses you’ll be willing to shoulder, based upon your current and future income;
  • Where do you hope to live once you reach your 70s or later years – and how do you want to try and finance that lifestyle? Growing older always happens much faster than we expect. This is why you and your spouse should give thought early on to where you hope to live day once health and mobility issues make changes necessary;
  • Discuss your willingness to purchasing long-term care insurance policies now. These are often quite expensive and can usually only be purchased before you enter your “golden years.” If you don’t buy these, the surviving spouse may one day have to spend a considerable amount of your combined wealth to pay the inevitable “last medical” expenses so many health insurance policies always try to avoid covering. Of course, you should both also plan on buying the most comprehensive (yet cost effective) basic healthcare insurance policies you can afford;
  • What extended family obligations do you both need to address? Often at least one spouse will have an elderly parent needing some financial assistance. If that spouse doesn’t have any separate property or wealth, you’ll need to decide what the two of you can start doing now to try and provide for this person’s needs. Likewise, if either of you have a child who is disabled in any way, you must also discuss how to make future provisions for that person;
  • Travel and vacation goals. Do you have long-term travel goals you both wish to start financing now?
  • Future schooling for either spouse. Is there a chance either one of you will return to school one day — either to complete a degree or obtain training in an entirely new field? Be sure to discuss how you might create a highly flexible education savings plan that could accommodate this future possibility;
  • Investment decision making. Which one of you should possibly take the lead with making investments for the two of you?

Minnesota Estate Planning for Married Couples

Although this list isn’t intended to be fully comprehensive, it should help newly married couples start setting priorities early on – while also obtaining their Minnesota estate-planning attorney’s advice on which tools can best help meet most or all of these goals. It may also be wise to hire a financial planner who can provide additional insights while you’re obtaining a full portfolio of estate planning documents from your lawyer.

To talk more with a Minnesota attorney on this topic, call the law firm at 612-424-0398.

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