Estate Planning for Surviving Spouses

When spouses die, no matter if it is suddenly or anticipated, a great deal of the subsequent estate planning is spent on administering the deceased person’s estate rather than focusing on the needs of the surviving spouse. It is critical for surviving spouses to understand what steps should be taken to make sure that their interests are protected after the death of a loved one. This article reviews some of the important estate planning steps that surviving spouses should remember to follow. Durable Power of Attorney A durable power of attorney designates one person to act on your behalf for financial matters during the course of your lifetime. In many cases, spouses will name one another as the appointed agent so that one spouse can make decisions on behalf of the other in case of emergencies. These documents are particularly important because events that result in disability and incapacity are frequently unexpected. In the case of a surviving spouse, it is often important to take steps to make sure that someone other than the deceased spouse is designated as the appointed agent. Health Care Proxies Health care proxies (which are sometimes called medical powers of attorney) are used whenever a [...]