Estate planning when your spouse has a terminal illness

| Jan 25, 2021 | Estate planning

One of the most heartbreaking things that can happen to a person in Florida is finding out that their spouse has a terminal illness. No one wants to think about their death or the death of their spouse, and being forced to have such conversations is difficult. However, it is necessary to make sure your spouse’s affairs are in order.

Review your spouse’s estate plan

In your spouse’s estate plan, they will likely have named someone as executor and trustee of their estate. You will want to make sure you still want those chosen in your spouse’s estate plan to fulfill these important roles. Health care proxy and power of attorney designations should also be reviewed, for the same reasons. In addition, review your beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies are up to date.

Update your list of assets

What we own changes overtime. Assets are sold, given away or lost. Other assets are gained. When facing a terminal illness, it is important to have an updated list of all your assets so you can identify what you hold jointly with your spouse, and what assets are in your name. This is also a good time to ensure that assets have been transferred to your trust, if you have one.

Is probate in your future?

If your spouse has a will, but no trust, the will must be probated. It is important to understand your spouse’s will. Probate can be complicated, but it may be necessary to administer the estate.

Learn more about estate planning

Losing a spouse is a time of great grief. Some people find that by understanding and preparing their spouse’s estate ahead of time provides some comfort and clarity. Our firm’s webpage on estate planning may be of use to those who want to learn more about this topic.