4 Ways to Get Your Reluctant Partner On-Board With Estate Planning

Just about any estate planning attorney will tell you that the process of creating a plan is almost always initiated by one partner (usually the wife) with the other partner merely along for the ride.  It’s not always easy to get your other half on-board.

The fact is that estate planning is best done as a team.  It is very difficult to start the process with just one partner participating.  So if you are having trouble getting your spouse on the same page, here are a few suggestions to help get the wheels turning:

1. Inform your spouse that in fact you already have an estate plan—the one provided for you by the state in which you live.  And you can be sure the government didn’t have your convenience or wishes in mind; it often includes a lengthy probate process, and high fees and estate taxes.

2. Talk to some friends who have already created their estate plan.  They will be able to tell you that the process is relatively simple, and the questions that arise often lead to discussions that can strengthen your relationship. Clients almost always leave feeling that a huge weight has been lifted.

3. Come at it from a new perspective.  It sometimes helps to stop talking about what kind of planning you want to do, and talk instead about what kind of planning you would like your parents to do.  Considering the time and effort you have in store for you as a beneficiary can be a great motivator as a grantor.

4. Take your partner with you to talk to your attorney.  Chances are, even if he’s reluctant, your spouse has at least one question about estate planning, even if that question is “I don’t have any significant assets, why do I need an estate plan?”  A knowledgeable attorney is the best person to provide the answer.  And a really good attorney knows how to be informative without being pushy.

No one can force another person into something they aren’t ready for yet, but hopefully the suggestions above will help lay the groundwork for a happy and successful planning partnership.