According to a New York Times article, in the United States, the average lifespan is 81.2 years for women, while for men it is only 76.5 years. This means that even if the husband handles financial decisions in a marriage, that responsibility is likely going to be passed off to the widowed wife later in life. If you and your spouse are making life changes, it may be time to revisit your finances and review your estate plan with an Anne Arundel county attorney.
A person’s estate includes all of their property and assets minus any debt they have acquired. Creating a will helps plan for what should happen to a person’s estate after their death. However, according to the AARP, only two out of every five adults over the age of 45 have a will. Without a will, Maryland considers a person to have died intestate, and Maryland intestacy law determines how the estate will be split between family members. You and your spouse should each have a will to specifically address what should happen to your estate after death and both should understand what the other partner’s will provides. This is particularly important if you or your spouse have had previous marriages. An estate planning attorney can help advise you through, not only the process of creating a will, but making changes should your estate or family relationships change over time.
Some businesses are meant to continue after a person has died. Perhaps they have partners who can take over the company or they have created a succession plan for once they have retired. However, most small businesses actually have not thought into the future. If the business owner dies it can have huge implications on the surviving family members. Estate tax can be imposed on the value of the business on the day before the owner died. The owner should make plans to have the business terminated upon their death if that is indeed the plan. It also may be prudent to extend liability insurance for the business past the owner’s death. If either spouse owns a company, it is worth creating a succession plan with the assistance of an attorney and then sharing all of the information with their partner.
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Both spouses should understand their current assets and liabilities, along with what might happen to them in the event one partner dies. This is particularly important for wives, because they tend to outlive their husbands and are less likely to be involved in decisions regarding estate planning of business succession. According to UBS Wealth Management, 40 percent of men control the financial decisions in a household, while only 28 percent of households share financial decisions. While women may make the important day-to-day decisions, if left widowed they may be overwhelmed with the financial responsibilities. Regardless of your age or health, now is a good time to meet with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney who can advise and guide you through your investments as a couple. Contact Frame & Frame in Pasadena to for a consultation today.