My Spouse Will Not Get on Board with Estate Planning

When it comes to estate planning for married couples, it takes two to tango. In other words, both spouses need to participate in the process. So, what can you do when you are ready to create an estate plan, but your spouse will not come to the initial consultation?

Let us acknowledge that it can be difficult to take that first step.

Estate planning means thinking about difficult things such as incapacity, leaving your minor child without parents, and death. Beginning the process of estate planning can be difficult and overwhelming.

Whether you have just started married life or you are celebrating 50 years together, no one wants to think about their own death or incapacity. It is a huge emotional obstacle for many. While the need may seem more pressing for couple number two above, everyone benefits from getting their affairs in order.

What happens when you have overcome this emotional obstacle and are ready to begin the process, but you cannot get your spouse to agree to a consultation with an estate planning attorney?

Start with what you can do alone and take the first step.

While both spouses might need to participate in the overall estate planning process, it is possible to start the process on your own. If you have any personally held assets, you may be able to create a plan to direct what happens to them.

Additionally, some parts of a married couple’s estate plan are stand-alone documents that each spouse signs as an individual. For example, you can take care of your personal instructions such as your healthcare power of attorney, living will, HIPAA, and General power of attorney for your healthcare and any of your own assets.

Finally, although you will not be able to include them in an estate plan, you can start a list of all your jointly held assets and keep it up to date. When your spouse is ready to join in the estate planning process—you will be well prepared.

Lead by example.

When you act, you create momentum. Your reluctant spouse will see that you have overcome those difficult emotional obstacles. If you share the positive aspects of the estate planning process with your spouse—such as the peace of mind that comes with taking charge of your future—you may further demonstrate how the benefits of estate planning outweigh the discomfort of thinking about mortality. The empowerment that comes with taking control of what is otherwise an uncertain future can also be inspiring. Seeing that you have taken action to secure your own future may make the process seem less intimidating to your spouse and provide just the inspiration needed to start working together.

Meet with a Virginia Estate Planning Attorney
Work with estate planning attorneys who are both knowledgeable and empathetic. Call Wilson Law, PLC today at 866-603-5976 to set up a meeting or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you to schedule your meeting.