Estate planning considerations after a spouse dies

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2022 | Estate Planning

Many married couples share finances, and their future plans and financial strategies are largely interdependent. When one dies, there are certain steps that the other party should take to ensure their estate plans still match that individual’s intentions and goals. Here are some things that Oregon widows and widowers should consider with regard to their estate plans following the passing of their spouse. 

Ensure there is an estate plan 

Some married couples put off estate planning, as they figure their jointly held assets will just roll over to their spouse after their passing. While this is very much not advisable, it is also not uncommon. Therefore, one of the first things a newly widowed individual should focus on is making sure to have an estate plan in place. 

Begin any necessary probate processes 

One common misconception is that money flows directly from one spouse to the other upon death. While this can be true of certain assets, like jointly held property and bank accounts with rights of survivorship, others may have to go through probate before access is given. Considering what to do about any cash flow concerns may also be part of this process. 

Review beneficiary designations 

For many people, the deceased spouse was the beneficiary of their estate. When this individual passes away, it is therefore imperative that the beneficiary designation be revised. The same is true for powers of attorney. 

In general, estate plans should be looked over after most major life events, such as a birth, divorce or a death. These changes can radically alter a person’s preferences and considerations when planning for what should happen to their assets when they pass, as well as other estate planning considerations. Individuals can reach out to an experienced Oregon lawyer for support with probate or estate plan review following a spouse’s death.