By Phoebe Stone, JD, MA (Bioethics)
When creating an estate plan for a married couple, there are many ways to plan for its division into marital and nonmarital shares upon the death of the first spouse. The circumstances and the client’s wishes (as informed by your professional guidance) will dictate the most appropriate design. For example, planning for couples of very modest means will likely include different choices than planning for high-net-worth couples; planning for an elderly couple in a decades-long marriage who have only shared children may look different from planning for blended families. To best serve your clients, it is critical that you understand the options available and are able to communicate the benefits and burdens associated with each option in ways your clients will understand so that your expertise can appropriately guide their choices.