The death of a spouse can, of course be emotionally devastating. But there are estate planning mistakes that can make the grieving even worse for those left behind.
A Florida estate planning attorney interviewed by Forbes said that one of the most common shortfalls is that one spouse took care of the financial decisions and recordkeeping and after he or she passes, the other spouse and children don’t have any idea of where to start in sorting out the estate – or even where a checkbook or funds for a funeral might be.
One way to prevent that problem, the lawyer says, is for couples to have at least one joint account with funds in it to cover emergencies.
That is “the very least,” the article states. There are other steps for the couples to take while they can. For instance, information about estate planning documents should be shared between the spouses so that the surviving spouse knows where the papers are and that a copy of a trust, for instance, can be produced in order to act and access assets in it.
He says both spouses should have at least three estate planning documents, including a will, a financial directive (durable power of attorney) and a health care directive (health care power of attorney or health care surrogate).
He points out while there is often a DIY attitude about these planning tools, the reality is that “they are very important and powerful documents, which should not be completed without professional advice.”
Contact a Brevard County law firm staffed by attorneys who understand the tools that will protect you, your family and your assets.