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Why couples should care about estate administration

Married couples often plan for the future together. They talk about savings, plan for buying homes or put money away for children's college funds. When it comes to later life decisions, some couples avoid estate administration talk because it is depressing or frightening. Getting an estate in order in early life actually removes stress and provides peace of mind.

One top reason for married couples to work together on estate planning is to ensure loved ones are provided for. Issues can be complex, especially in modern family environments where couples may have children or dependents from previous relationships, so it's best to get everyone on the table and work issues out with plenty of time.

Couples also want to minimize estate taxes, which requires a thorough understanding of all laws involved. Protecting assets from creditors or ensuring children's inheritances are protected in the event a surviving spouse remarries are also important concerns.

Starting early helps couples reduce the cost of estate administration. Without the right provisions, heirs can end up in costly probate battles. One aspect of estate planning is selecting people to appoint as power of attorney if one or both of the couple experiences diminished capacity in later years. Planning now protects your interests and your privacy in later life.

Because you can't predict the future, it's important to plan for many possibilities. Couples with young children should consider documents that dictate how children will be cared for in the event both parents die or become unable to take care of dependents. Acting now and becoming familiar with estate law in your state is the first step toward protecting your future with strong estate planning and administration.

Source: Forbes, "Eight Common Estate Planning Objectives Of Married Couples" Lewis Saret, May. 13, 2014

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