Kissing Newlyweds on the Beach

“I love you” may not be the best approach in estate planning.

The best way to express love for your spouse when it comes to estate planning may not be “I love you,” according to Wealth Management in “A Better Way To Say ‘I Love You’.”

A “simple will” normally refers to a will made by a married person that leaves his or her entire estate to the spouse. Both spouses often have these wills drawn up at the same time and have agreed that the surviving spouse will eventually leave everything to their children or some other agreed upon heirs.

Estate planning attorneys privately sometimes sarcastically call these “I love you wills.”

The problem is that simple wills have many potential difficulties that people have not thoroughly thought through. Because these are wills and not trusts, they will ordinarily have to go through probate. They can also have unintended tax and financial consequences for the surviving spouse. Finally, there is no way to prevent the survivor from later changing his or her mind and doing something different.

Instead of simple wills, estate planning attorneys often suggest lifetime beneficiary trusts. These trusts let the surviving spouse use any assets while alive, with any remaining assets later going to other beneficiaries.

An estate planning attorney can guide you on creating an estate plan that fits your individual circumstances.

Reference: Wealth Management (Feb. 14, 2017) “A Better Way To Say ‘I Love You’.”

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.