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With estate planning, a spouse can be the most important asset

When it comes to your estate plan, it’s important to make sure that your spouse is up to speed. That’s because, as this article from MainStreet points out, your spouse can help make sure that your wishes are met when you die, and vice versa.

After all, few people know you as well as your spouse does. And chances are that you feel the same way on a lot of issues.

In most cases, there is no telling which spouse is going to pass away first, but one thing that’s certain is that no one lives forever. Creating an effective estate plan and including your spouse in the process can not only help you meet your goals, but also bring you closer.

Additionally, if you have decided to give your spouse power of attorney for financial and health care issues in case something happens to you and you cannot make decisions for yourself, it’s important that your spouse knows what you want -- and again, vice versa.

When to exercise caution

Of course, there are certain situations in which you may not want your spouse to have decision-making power. For example, if you have children from a previous marriage, you may not want your current spouse to have control over your children’s inheritances, in order to avoid conflict.

Also, if your spouse suffers from an illness that could render him or her unable to make sound decisions, then granting your spouse power of attorney may not be a good idea.

An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you decide what role your spouse should have in your estate plan, and how you can create an estate plan together that meets both of your goals.

While no one likes to plan for their eventual death, having your spouse by your side can make it less scary.

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