AZ Estate Planning For Married Couples Without Children

Like single people, it is not uncommon for married couples without children to overlook estate planning. A reason for this is that many people believe that even without any formal planning, their marital property will automatically transfer to their spouse in the event of their death. Even with property transferring to a spouse, however, there remains much that married couples should have in place to protect one another should the unexpected arise.

Young couples without children should recognize that if one of them were to pass away, the other would likely have many years of life remaining. As such, they should do all they can to safeguard against financial crisis should such a tragedy befall them. A basic will can provide them surety that all of their property will transfer to the surviving spouse, and designating one another on insurance policies and retirement accounts will expedite the transfer of property upon one of their deaths. They should also consider whether purchasing life insurance to help with things such as a mortgage payment is a good idea. Younger couples will need a plan with flexibility, as they are more than likely change their estate plan as their financial situation evolves or their family grows.

Older couples without children may approach estate planning differently than young couples. They may have more financial accounts to deal with, each of which may be designated as a payable on death account so that it can transfer to the surviving spouse without going through Arizona probate. They may also have more property, and should thus consider establishing a living trust so that these assets are used for the benefit of a surviving spouse without delay or probate involvement and costs. Older couples with significant property should also consider estate tax planning to help preserve their estate.

Couples of any age should also plan for the event that one or both of them loses capacity to handle their medical or financial affairs personally. This is accomplished by establishing powers of attorney, which provide another person with authority to make these decisions in the event of incapacity. Specific powers of attorney should be created to delegate financial, medical, and mental health decision-making power. Living wills are also important parts of estate plans, as they provide direction on the type of health care a person wishes for in the event he or she becomes unable to communicate health care wishes.

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