In the journey of life, finding a partner with whom you can share your dreams, challenges, and accomplishments is a remarkable and cherished experience. As a couple, you build a life together, nurturing a relationship that is grounded in love, trust, and mutual support. Just as you work together to build your future, it’s crucial to proactively safeguard one another’s well-being and financial security through comprehensive insurance and estate planning. In this article, we will explore insurance and estate planning for couples and important considerations as you work to protect each other through thoughtful strategies.
Estate Planning for Couples: Prioritizing Life Insurance
Life insurance is a cornerstone of financial protection for couples. It provides a safety net that ensures your loved one is financially supported in the event of your untimely passing – and it can bring great peace of mind, too. Consider these aspects as you build your own life insurance plan:
Coverage Amount: Assess your financial obligations, including mortgages, debts, and living expenses, to determine an appropriate coverage amount. This will provide your spouse or partner with the means to maintain their lifestyle and achieve long-term goals.
Term vs. Permanent: Decide between term life insurance, which offers coverage for a specific period, and permanent life insurance, which provides lifelong protection and can accumulate cash value over time. There are pros and cons to both types, so do your research before making a selection.
Beneficiary Designations: These are incredibly important because they will override anything written in your will. Clearly designate your spouse or partner as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Regularly review and update these designations as your circumstances change.
Estate Planning for Couples: Health and Disability Insurance
Health and disability insurance are crucial components of comprehensive protection, ensuring both partners have access to quality healthcare and financial support in case of illness or injury. Consider reviewing your current insurance protections in both of these categories:
Health Insurance: Evaluate the health insurance options available to both partners. If employer-provided coverage is available, assess the most cost-effective and comprehensive plan for your needs.
Disability Insurance: Secure disability insurance to replace lost income if either partner becomes unable to work due to a disabling injury or illness. Long-term disability coverage offers peace of mind and financial stability, and there are advantages of short-term disability coverage also.
Estate Planning for Couples: Documents to Put in Place
Estate planning ensures that your assets and wishes are protected and distributed according to your preferences. The written, legal documentation for your estate plan encompasses several essential elements:
Wills and Trusts: If you and your spouse or partner have not done so already, create legally binding wills that outline how you want your assets distributed. Consider establishing trusts to provide additional control over the distribution of assets and minimize potential estate taxes.
Power of Attorney: Appoint a power of attorney to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of your partner if they become incapacitated.
Healthcare Proxy and Living Will: Designate a healthcare proxy to make medical decisions if your partner is unable to do so. You may find this guide helpful as you make your selection. A living will outline your preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care.
Guardianship for Dependents: If you have minor children, or adult children with special needs, appoint a guardian to care for them in the event of both parents’ passing.
Estate Planning for Couples: Long-Term Care Planning
Long-term care planning ensures that you and your spouse or partner are prepared for potential healthcare needs in later years. None of us can see into the future, but nearly 70% of retirees require long-term care at some point in time, so this type of planning is critical:
Long-Term Care Insurance: Consider long-term care insurance to cover the costs of assisted living, nursing homes, or in-home care. This insurance can help protect your assets and alleviate the financial burden on your partner. It’s worth noting, however, that this type of insurance can be costly and won’t be right for every couple’s financial situation.
Retirement Savings: Continuously contribute to retirement accounts to build a nest egg that can support both partners during retirement and potential long-term care needs. If you have a health savings account, you can use it to bolster your retirement healthcare savings.
Want Personalized Guidance in Estate Planning for Couples? We Can Help!
Financial planning and estate planning often go hand-in-hand, and the team at B.A. Schrock is ready to help you and your spouse or partner prepare for the future. By proactively addressing potential risks and uncertainties, we can help you build a foundation of security and financial stability. Through careful planning, you can ensure that your love and support extend beyond the present, safeguarding your partner’s well-being and financial future for years to come. If you’d like to discuss your personal financial planning and estate planning needs, please contact us today.