Key estate planning steps for married couples

Married couples in New Jersey may want to consider taking some simple steps to prepare for the possibility of one spouse's death. Although most spouses don't like to think about estate planning, it is important to have certain documents prepared. According to a survey by NerdWallet, about one in three married couples don't have life insurance.

One of the first things that a married couple can do to prepare their estate plan is to determine how much life insurance they need for their family. Most people rely solely on the life insurance that is provided by their employer even though the insurance policy is not usually sufficient. Even if one spouse stays at home to care for children, both spouses should have life insurance. A stay-at-home parent's life insurance policy could cover the cost of replacing child care and other services.

Writing a will is another important estate planning step that married couples should complete. It is especially important for married people with young children to create a will, as the will can name a guardian for those children in the event of their parents' deaths. When married people are planning their estates, it is crucial to keep all estate planning documents and financial records in a secure location where they can be found. Married couples should also communicate with each other about their final wishes so that there is no confusion when a will is read.

A married couple may want to consult an attorney about the details of their estate plan. In addition to preparing a new will or reviewing an existing one, an attorney may be able to suggest trusts and other estate planning tools that a couple could use to preserve and protect their assets.

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