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Spouses need to discuss estate planning

Many Tennessee residents have taken the time to prepare an estate plan in order to ensure that their spouses are provided for after death. However, at least some of that estate planning could be in vain if couples fail to discuss the contents of the documents, the location of important papers and each partner's final wishes. One of the main goals of an estate plan is to make things easier for a surviving spouse, but that cannot happen if the information is not shared.

For example, it may not be enough for an individual to put burial and/or funeral instructions in a will. A person's will is often not reviewed until after the burial. By then, it is too late to carry out the wishes of a loved one. Therefore, it is important for people to discuss these issues with their spouses.

Written instructions can be left in a place known to an individual's spouse. In fact, all of the important documents pertaining to a person's assets and debts need to be housed in a safe place that can be accessed by the surviving spouse. After losing a partner, the surviving spouse's emotions are often running high, and numerous details need to be attended to in order to put his or her loved one to rest. The surviving spouse should not have to spend time and effort locating important papers.

Estate planning requires a great deal of thought and preparation, which could easily go to waste if Tennessee couples fail to discuss the details. Not only is an estate plan meant to provide for family members, but it is also meant to make the administration of the estate easier. Furthermore, even though it may be an uncomfortable topic of conversation, knowing that a plan is in place can provide peace of mind and a sense of security for the individual and family members.

Source: USA Today, "5 ways couples can tackle estate planning now", Barbara Marquand, Nov. 14, 2015

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