Estate Planning for Spouses: Joint vs. Separate

When working with a couple, it is always important to determine the needs, goals and intentions of each spouse. Important matters to consider would include: (i) are assets held jointly or separately? (ii) are there children from prior relationships? (iii) do spouses have differing goals and/or plans? There are frequently times when the circumstances and goals of a couple are aligned in a fashion that would lend itself to very joint and unified planning including perhaps a joint trust. In other situations, the benefit and need of separate planning is crucial and ultimately will result in an estate plan that suits both spouses better. There are no cookie-cutters when it comes to estate planning and helping clients best address the unique circumstances and goals of their lives. Planning for couples requires thoughtful consideration and careful analysis of each situation.