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I often meet with a widow or widower still grieving over the loss of a spouse. This time is obviously difficult for them. Unfortunately, it often becomes much more difficult for reasons that could so easily have been avoided.

If a couple has an effective estate plan in place, the surviving spouse will be able to avoid so many challenges that come with failing to plan. An estate plan is effective if the surviving spouse understands what will happen next and how it will happen.

Contrast that with the experience of a surviving spouse when no planning has been done. Typically, the spouse will come to me with a pile of papers (which may or may not include a will), and ask what will happen next. Of course, we are prepared to help. However, at that moment, neither of us know what kind of problems we will face, or how much it will cost to put things in order.

After we review the documents and investigate further, we learn whose names show up on the assets (like the home or vehicles), whether anyone has been named as a beneficiary on the insurance policies, who will receive the deceased person’s assets, and what other challenges may arise.

This period is extremely difficult for a spouse who has never felt more alone. He or she feels the burden of a list of unknowns, and may receive difficult answers. Not only has he or she lost a companion but the experience and issues to be addressed are entirely new.

Having an estate plan is not difficult or expensive, especially when compared with the difficulties and expense left to an unprepared surviving spouse. However, an estate plan is more than simply having a will. An effective estate plan helps prepare those left behind when you pass.

Come to a free presentation to find out how simple it can be to have an effective estate plan in place, and to receive the peace of mind that comes when you plan while you can.