Marriage is among the life-changing events that should cause one to review, or establish, one’s estate plan. Unfortunately, newlyweds do not make their way into my office very often. I understand how happy of time it is, but this is also a major life change where establishing a written estate plan may be very necessary.
Helping couples manage and protect their assets is a task I truly enjoy. It provides the client with peace of mind and can help their loved ones for years to come. During the course of my career in estate planning, I have developed and established many tools that I use to help me complete whatever you need in an estate plan. Using Wealthcounsel drafting software allows me to be able to draft any type of estate planning document and with the newest legal requirements.
If this is your first year of marriage or your 50th, some of the more common planning challenges I see with married couples are: children from previous marriages, second marriages, the desire to maintain both combined and separate assets, extensive family wealth on one side of the couple only, and shielding the couple from their estate paying estate tax.
When you sit down with me in my office for your free consultation, I answer all your questions and address your concerns associated with your plan. Once you make a handful of decisions and convey some basic information, I will explain your options and make recommendations. After that, you can take as much time as you need to decide if my law practice is right for you. We are good at what we do and I find no need for a hard sell or sales pressure. I want to work with clients who want to work with me.
Some common questions I hear are:
- Should we do separate trusts or one joint trust?
- Most couples can proceed using a joint trust to hold their assets, however, in some situations, depending on assets and family dynamics, it makes sense to complete one trust for each client. Doing a joint trust saves some money on the front end; however, separate trusts have great benefits for a married couple with respect to asset protection, flexibility, and cost savings after the death of the first spouse.
- Do we need a Domestic Asset Protection Trust
(DAPT) or possibly a prenup?
- Not every set of clients need to think about a prenup or asset protection; however, it is my responsibility to make sure my clients are prepared for the worst. DAPTs are a good option for clients that are uncomfortable with having the prenup discussion with their spouse, yet have a need that can be met with this type of trust.
- Who should we name as guardians for our children?
- If a couple has children, this may be the hardest question to answer. Every couple has their own reasons for picking and choosing a particular guardian. If you need help, please read (Ill insert link) How to choose a guardian. This may help answer some questions you have about this important decision.
Sometimes in life, as an adult, you have to make tough decisions. Some of them will be made during the completion of your estate plan. However, for the sake of your partner and your family, it is the responsible thing to do. Experience tells me that doing nothing can be disastrous.