Signing DocumentsFact: 64% of Americans do not have a will.

Fact: 1/3 of America’s married couples are without life insurance.

Fact: Even among those couples that do have life insurance, 43% still say they would be in financial trouble if one of the spouses passed away.

This month, NerdWallet and USA Today are teaming up with tips for married couples who need to get some sort of plan together but can’t seem to find the time to actually do it. (Sound familiar?) Let’s look at a few of those tips below:

  • Figure out how much life insurance you actually need. In most families, at least one spouse should carry coverage. If your employer offers a policy, that’s a start, but don’t assume it’s all the protection you will need. It almost never is. Research is the hard part, but a professional can help with guidance. The actual application can be done in an afternoon.
  • Make a “financial safety box.” Put all your important documents, records, and other such information in a single location. Then make sure that everyone in your family knows where it is. In the event of an emergency or a sudden death someday, a frantic scramble to find essential information is a hassle that no one wants to deal with, and it can cause big problems. USA Today suggests making a “one-page, quick-start guide” that lists your bank accounts, insurance policies, and other important information. Put that page on top of the stack and update it often.
  • Have a conversation. Do you know what your spouse wants for his or her burial? And where should his or her personal assets go? Assumptions about the answers to these questions are one of the leading problems in estate planning. Don’t assume. Communicate about it instead. (Isn’t that the answer to just about every relationship challenge?)
  • Let Noreen handle it. Okay, they don’t put it quite that way in their article, but that is one of NerdWallet’s essential recommendations — let an experienced professional do the heavy lifting. As a Middlesex County estate planning lawyer, I’ve helped many couples put together wills, trusts, and other essential documents to protect their families for the future. I can do the same for you. I want you to be involved, but I also want to respect your time. I know that life is busy, and that’s why I’m here to shoulder the stress.

If you and your spouse know you need a plan in place but just can’t find the time, I understand. Give me a call and we’ll have a quick chat about how my office can make a difference. Let’s talk.

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