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Part II: planning for death of a spouse

Regular readers of our Brevard County legal blog know that we recently wrote about steps couples can take to protect themselves and their assets. It is simply inevitable that one spouse will pass on before the other, so it is important to plan ahead so that the survivor does not have to deal with complex legal matters or needless expenses in an already difficult time.

A recent article in Forbes detailed some of the steps couples can take that will minimize complications while protecting the estate and surviving spouse.

Right near the top of the smart things couples can do to protect each other: sit down with your estate planning attorney and create a will, a living will and advance directive (the living will and advance directive tell medical professionals about the kind of medical treatment you want if you become incapacitated) and a power of attorney (can include the power to make financial decisions if you become incapacitated). However, there are related estate planning tools that can also be useful in

Couples with significant assets should also have at least one trust. Options here include irrevocable trusts, revocable trusts (also known as living wills) and special needs trusts. These documents can help the surviving spouse avoid probate, which can be a time-consuming, expensive process that many people prefer to avoid.

Another thing to avoid: online or office-store estate planning documents. Sure, they are cheap and appear to be able to save you money, but the reality is that far too often people make mistakes on the forms that complicate or even bring to a halt distribution of estate assets. It is crucial to have a legal professional look over these documents to ensure they will actually protect you and your loved ones.

Please contact a Brevard County estate planning attorney for more detailed help in protecting your family and assets.

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