Losing a spouse and estate planning

Thinking about your own mortality can be frightening. None of us like to think about when our time will come to an end, but it's inevitable, meaning that we all need to have our affairs in order before that time comes. For many people, this means engaging in estate planning to deal with their own finances. Yet, estate planning can be just as powerful when considering the passing of a spouse.

Of course, thinking about the death of a spouse isn't any easier than thinking about your own death, yet many Californians find themselves in positions where they know that a significant other will pass before they will. In these situations, it is important to consider the steps you can take with your spouse to ensure that an estate is protected and your finances are secure for when you are left to live alone.

While there may be steps that can be taken after the passing of a spouse, estate planning beforehand can better position you in the event that your spouse passes on before you. For example, certain trusts may reduce countable income for Medicaid purposes, thereby increasing the likelihood that you will be able to retain those benefits if needed. Securing an adequate amount of life insurance for a spouse can also leave you better positioned, financially speaking, in the event that you lose your husband or wife. Also, while estate taxes affect some, the exemption is so large nowadays that many people just waste time focusing on trying to figure out how to reduce the size of a taxable estate.

At the end of the day, spouses who love each other should work together to make sure that they are taken care of in the event that one spouse is lost. It may be unpleasant to think about at first, but once completed you and your loved one can be left with peace of mind and as much financial security as is possible under the circumstances at hand.

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