Final steps in estate planning to assist the surviving spouse

Many Nevada couples may have the necessary plans in place for the unfortunate event of one spouse’s death. Documents that form part of estate planning, like wills and trusts, are likely all under control and safely filed away. However, this is not necessarily where proper estate planning should stop. There are a few details couples should not forget to pay attention to.

If one spouse has been responsible for the family’s finances, that spouse may want to update the other on the details of the financial planning and make him or her part of the planning. It may be a good idea for the uninformed spouse to be introduced to the family’s financial advisor and form a business relationship that can continue in the event of the other spouse’s passing. It can also be important to ensure that both spouses have access to all financial accounts, in order for the surviving spouse to have immediate access upon the passing of the other to cover medical and final expenses related to a funeral and burial.

Additionally, each spouse should likely have access to all the other’s accounts, including passwords for online accounts. It may help if all documents of both spouses are organized and accessible, along with an updated list of names and contact numbers of everybody who was involved in the planning of the estate. The traumatic period directly after the death of a spouse is not the optimal time to start searching for documents and information.

Lastly, it may be a good idea to review all beneficiaries of retirement plans, annuities, life insurance and investment accounts. Attending to all these aspects in addition to basic estate planning may make life a lot easier for a surviving spouse in Nevada. We have no control over our mortality, but taking charge of theses matters may help ensure the financial future of those who are left behind.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, “3 Important Estate Planning Questions“, Scott Holsopple, May 2, 2014

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Johnson & Johnson Law Offices - Probate Lawyers of Las Vegas, Nevada, provide representation throughout Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Overton, Logandale, Mountain's Edge, Aliante, Anthem, Sun City, Siena, Boulder City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Summerlin, Southern Highlands and Green Valley. This includes the counties of Clark County, Nye County, Lincoln County, as well as greater Southern Nevada.

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