Should estate planning be solo or combined when married

Whether you are getting married for the first time or planning on remarrying, an important discussion to have with your spouse is about estate planning. If you are single with assets of your own, how will you handle those once married? 

One of the first issues to resolve is if you will be represented together by the same estate planner. Joint representation is less costly, and the two of you can divide the estate planning tasks now that you’re a couple. Also, it helps to build greater trust and more open communication between you and your spouse, as well as any children that you may have.

However, if you each have your own attorney, do you want to continue going “solo” when it comes to your estate planning options? You’ll have more freedom to discuss estate planning concerns that are specific to you without taking into consideration those of your spouse.

This is a significant consideration if you are marrying someone who already has children or if you’re entering into a blended family situation. Unfortunately, competing and conflicting interests can come up in the future between step-parents and step or half children.

Consider separate representation for estate planning if you find yourself in one or more of the following scenarios.

Factors to consider

Factors to take into consideration before deciding to have a combined estate plan with your spouse vs separate representation:

  • If there is an income or wealth disparity between the two of you
  • A short relationship before marriage
  • The number of past relationships one or both or you have had
  • The greater the age difference between the two of you
  • If there’s a prenup
  • If you or your spouse, alone, have children
  • If you and your spouse have communication issues
  • Skeletons in your closet

Making the decision to get separate estate planning representation or to be represented together by the same attorney is mainly based on the financial concerns that you both are bringing to the marriage. It’s important that you both clearly communicate your issues to one another for successful estate planning to happen.

Getting guidance

Although the goals of most married couples are aligned with respect to estate planning, some individuals in a marriage may have some differing views when it comes to property ownership, beneficiaries, and the naming of trustees, executors, and guardians. 

If you are on your way to the altar and need estate planning guidance, the Law Office of David W. Foley, experienced estate planning attorneys in San Diego, is ready to guide you through the estate planning process, so you can make the decisions that suit your unique situation. 

As a family owned and operated law firm, we understand the issues that our clients and their families face. We will take the time to listen to all of your concerns and answer all of your questions with compassion and expertise.

Contact us by phone or email for an initial consultation.