What are special estate planning considerations when working with couples?

Minneapolis, MN estate planning attorney Cameron R. Kelly talks about some special considerations to keep in mind when dealing with estate planning with couples.

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Phone: (715) 381-7112


The biggest thing is the concern with wanting to make sure that your spouse is taken care of but not necessarily wanting to leave all of your money to that spouse. Things that come up are that the spouse might go and get remarried at some point and without intending it, if they – there’s a speaker who talks about something called the casserole brigade. And it’s where a spouse passes away and the same week that the spouse passes away all the widows or widowers come over and maybe want to help in the garden or maybe have a casserole that they want to give you for the freezer and before too long someone’s getting remarried.

And they get remarried and there are just too many things in the house that are from the old spouse and so you start getting rid of some of the knickknacks or something that’s up over the mantel. And the next thing you know there’s still just too many memories about the old spouse in the house and so they sell the house who maybe is owned by the surviving spouse and they go buy a new house. And of course, like anyone, any couple who goes and buys a house they purchase a new house as joint tenants.

And then the surviving spouse passes away and so this new husband or wife who is now a widower themselves inherits this house and owns the entire title to the house and the kids from the initial spouse and surviving spouse are left without an inheritance. And it’s not intentional it just happens sometimes. And so what we try to do is control that through estate planning where we use trusts in order to restrict how that house might be owned or how the property would be used and we might even put conditions on if someone gets remarried how would we want to treat the property at that point.