Happy Wife, Happy Life – Then What?

Some couples dismiss estate planning believing that nothing needs to be done as the surviving spouse or significant other will inherit everything and such are their wishes.  These couples may prepare by having the partner to survive designated as the beneficiary on financial accounts and assets.  Issues addressed.  All planning done.

The charm in that approach is that these assets should pass automatically to the survivor.  But what happens if the survivor gets in serious debt or gets in a car accident and is sued?  What if the survivor is disabled with medical care providers and government programs holding medical liens against all of the survivor’s assets?  Those assets meant for the survivor are NOT protected and could be reached by these creditors.  All could be lost.  Alternatively, asset protections and creditor protections could be built into a proper estate plan.

If the survivor gets remarried or in another committed relationship, what becomes of all the assets left outright to the survivor?  All those discussions and considerations of taking care of your children may die when the survivor passes.  Avoid these circumstances and pitfalls with an estate plan which anticipates and plans for such contingencies.  The plan may fully provide for the survivor and any needs which may arise while simultaneously protecting assets for children or others you designate.  

If you fail to fully or properly designate the survivor as the beneficiary, those assets may then need to go through the expensive and lengthy probate process.  The survivor may not be entitled to the asset.  Further, absent addressing these issues with certainty in a Living Trust or Will could allow others to contest your decisions.  

Do not risk the welfare of the surviving spouse or partner.  Create an estate plan to provide for survivor’s needs as you see fit.  And, contact Michael Geiger at Geiger Law for all your estate planning needs.

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