When it comes to estate planning for married couples, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The best type of will or trust depends on each couple’s unique circumstances. At Lumsden Law, we encounter a diverse range of situations that married couples face, and we tailor our advice accordingly. In this blog, we will explore the various options and considerations for married couples in estate planning.

1. Individual Wills and Trusts

Married individuals can have individual wills and trusts. This option is particularly relevant when spouses have separate assets they wish to bequeath to specific beneficiaries, such as children from previous relationships. Individual estate planning documents allow each spouse to protect their assets and ensure that they are distributed according to their personal wishes.

2. Mirror Wills

Mirror wills are another option for married couples. These are two separate wills where the terms and conditions of one spouse’s will reflect those of the other. This approach is often chosen by couples who have commingled their finances, own joint property, and have shared children.

3. Joint Trusts with Individual Pourover Wills

A joint revocable living trust, coupled with individual pourover wills, is an effective combination for many couples. This arrangement involves creating a trust that both spouses manage together during their lifetimes, with the trust holding the majority of their assets. The individual pourover wills provide that any assets not included in the trust during the couple’s lifetime are transferred into the trust upon their passing.

4. Consideration of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

It is important to consider the impact of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements on estate planning. These agreements dictate how assets are divided in the event of separation or divorce, and they may influence how estate plans are structured. An estate planning attorney can help navigate how these agreements interact with wills and trusts.

5. The Importance of Conversation and Legal Guidance

Ideally, married couples should engage in in-depth conversations with each other and with their attorney. Understanding each other’s wishes and goals is crucial for creating an estate plan that accurately reflects the couple’s joint and individual preferences. An experienced attorney can craft a plan that accommodates both the current and anticipated circumstances of the couple.

Conclusion |  Tailored Estate Planning for Married Couples

Every married couple’s situation is unique, and their estate plan should reflect that uniqueness. Whether it is individual wills, mirror wills, joint trusts, or a combination of these, the key is to choose an estate plan that aligns with the couple’s assets, family dynamics, and future expectations. At Lumsden Law, we specialize in creating personalized estate plans that meet the specific needs of each couple. We encourage married couples to consider their estate planning options carefully and seek professional advice to ensure their estate is managed and distributed according to their exact wishes.