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In support of spouse-centric estate planning

When it comes to planning for the distribution of one's assets, it can be difficult to know where to begin. There are numerous choices available, and many Oklahoma families need guidance when beginning the estate planning process. For those who are in stable, happy marriages, one of the best places to begin is with a spouse-centered approach.

Within most married couples, there is no one better suited to make serious decisions on one's behalf than his or her spouse. We tend to discuss health and financial matters more deeply with our partners than with children or family friends, which leaves our spouse the most informed when it comes to our wishes. This is true in terms of finances, and also when it comes to how an individual would like his or her health care handled in the event of an incapacitating illness or injury.

Most spouses discuss what medical interventions they would want in the event of a serious illness or injury. These discussions take place over time, and the details may shift as individuals grow older. If and when the time comes, a husband or wife is often the best equipped to carry out those wishes by making the appropriate medical decisions.

In terms of finances, spouses work together to earn, invest and save the base of marital wealth. This means that a spouse is often the best choice when it comes to managing that wealth in one's absence. Here again, multiple discussions often precede the need for one party to take over the family's finances, so when the time comes, both spouses are prepared to do so for each other.

Spouse-centric estate planning is not the best fit for every family. For example, when an individual has remarried and has children from a previous relationship, it may be wise to provide for those children separately than the provisions made for the current spouse. However, in cases where a couple has been together for a lengthy period of time and is in a stable marriage, an Oklahoma spouse is often the ideal choice when it comes to the management of one's medical and financial needs, both in the event of incapacitation and death.

Source:, "Why Your Spouse Should Be at the Center of Your Estate Planning", Jason Notte, May 27, 2015

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