As we have acknowledged in previous articles, it can be difficult to consider the notion of our own mortality. Yet equally challenging is the idea of the loss of a spouse or partner.
While procrastination and ignoring these life-changing scenarios is common, early planning can mitigate the risk of financial and emotional chaos that can ensue upon the loss of a spouse.
Most important is to make sure both partners have a thorough understanding of their assets, both joint and separate, and where/how they are held. Clear documentation makes it much simpler for a bereaved spouse to organize and take control of the family’s finances, especially when that may not have been their traditional role in the family.
A Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy for each spouse allows each to make medical and financial decisions on behalf of the other of one falls ill and is unable to communicate his or her choices. This can be crucial in managing assets, such as real estate, which otherwise could not be controlled without court intervention due to the incapacity of one spouse.
Each family has specific circumstances that will guide the their financial and estate planning. Complex situations such as previous marriages, stepchildren, vacation homes, properties in multiple states, special needs family members – all should be addressed well in advance of a crisis.
Communication between spouses/partners is crucial, as is creating a plan prior to cognitive decline or illness. When you are well is the best time to plan.
To get started with your proactive planning, please contact The Heritage Law Center at 617.299.6976 to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation initial consultation.