Estate planning isn’t hard, especially when you have the right professional help, but it is a detail-oriented task that requires your full attention and a lot of thought. That’s not usually what keeps people from creating a will or making other estate plans, though. It’s often the fear of talking about end-of-life or a feeling that you don’t need a will that keeps you from such a discussion. Even if you finally buckle down to create a will, your spouse might not be on board with the process.
Before you broach the subject with your significant other, consider doing some preliminary prep yourself. It can help if you present your spouse with hard facts rather than general desires to plan for the future, so find out about your property and your obligations. You can’t talk about how you’ll cover debts or future needs if you don’t know what those are, and you certainly can’t discuss bequeathing property if you don’t have a list of what you own.
Once you’re ready to start a discussion, consider breaking the ice with talking points your spouse is most likely to care about. If you have children, this is a good place to start. You can say, “I’m worried about what might happen to the kids if something happens to us. Can we talk about that?” You could also say, “We’ve worked really hard all these years to buy this house and grow our wealth. Can we talk about how to protect it and pass it on?”
After your spouse has started discussing wills and other estate plans with you, schedule an appointment with an estate lawyer so you can both receive professional advice. While the next steps might seem complicated, there’s nothing frightening about it.
Source: Time, “Half of Americans Don’t Have a Will. Here’s How to Fix That for Your Family,” Kerri Anne Renzulli, Nov. 30, 2016