A Hard Topic for Couples

Estate Planning, Family, Marriage, Must Have Documents, Relationships, Trusts, Will

August 05, 2021

In its most recent survey of how couples handle household money decisions, Fidelity reports that couples find talking about estate planning to be a very difficult conversation. 

If you agree with that, I have to share something with you, that I say with love, and empathy: you are nuts.  

Seriously. What is hard about talking through and making plans to protect each other and your loved ones? That is all that estate planning is. Don’t tell me the topic of death is too difficult to contemplate. What should be even harder to contemplate is the consequence of dying without important documents in place—that would make life so difficult for your loved ones. 

And it also misses out on one of the most overlooked aspects of estate planning: making sure your family can care for you if you become unable to handle the finances, or if you can no longer be your own health care advocate. Whether it’s a debilitating illness, a severe accident, or dementia, you owe it to yourself, and your loved ones, to create a road map for who will handle your affairs if you are incapacitated. Right now, when you are clear as a bell and very capable, is when you spell out exactly what that care should look like. 

And here’s the crazy part -- it is neither hard nor expensive to create the handful of documents you need:  

Will: This spells out who gets what after you die. Helpful, of course. But not ideal, given that if you die with only a Will it’ll likely need to go through the court process of probate.  

Revocable Living Trust: This is how your family avoids probate when you pass. And it allows someone you appoint to step in and handle your affairs if you become unable to manage your affairs. It’s so important to understand that a Will is only helpful after you die. A living revocable trust helps you and your loved ones care for you when you are still very much here. 

Financial Power of Attorney: The document that appoints someone to act on your behalf to handle your finances. 

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: You can—and should—lay out all your medical care wishes in an advance directive. If there every comes a time when you are too sick to engage in conversations with caregivers about what your advance directive says, your health-care power of attorney is the person you’ve appointed who will have the legal right to have those conversations as your representative. 

Step back for a sec and think about what those four documents deliver. Peace of mind.  

Again, how is that a difficult conversation? 

Nor does it need to be an expensive endeavor. This is why I recommend the MUST HAVETM Documents online program, which will walk you through creating all four documents, and the cost is a tiny fraction of what you would pay an estate lawyer.  

Are you ready to finally have the conversation and take care of these important documents? Take the first step and learn more by watching this video I created.

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