Creating an estate plan without a spouse’s cooperation

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2016 | Estate Planning

Some Nevada residents may face the challenge of trying to create an estate plan with a reluctant spouse. While nagging rarely works, it may be possible to persuade the spouse to participate in estate planning, and in the meantime, there are steps people can take on their own to be better prepared.

One issue is that people who are married may have jointly held assets that they cannot arrange to distribute without their spouse’s cooperation. Furthermore, it is not possible to name anyone other than the spouse on a beneficiary designation for a retirement account without the spouse’s permission. Pointing these facts out along with the laws regarding what may happen if someone dies without a will might help. For example, a person’s stepchildren may not be provided for, or there may be other complications within blended families.

If this persuasion is unsuccessful, people can still take a few steps on their own. They can create a will that deals with their own assets. They can also create a power of attorney and documents dealing with their own health care in case they are incapacitated. Finally, they can educate themselves about their spouse’s financial situation and assets including how to access various accounts.

It is not uncommon for people to resist talking about estate planning, but doing so is an important process that can protect loved ones. Furthermore, there are a number of powerful tools available for many different types of situations. For example, if a family member struggles with addiction or is irresponsible with money, a trust can be set up that only distributes money at certain intervals or when approved by the trustee. An attorney may be able to discuss some of these tools as well as ways that tax burdens for heirs can be reduced.