Estate Planning Guide When Legally Separating
In some situations, a married couple may decide to separate legally, instead of divorcing. While a legal
separation contains very similar provisions to a divorce, there are certain estate planning concerns
that legally separated couples have that a divorced couple does not. It's important to speak to your
estate planning attorney if you plan on getting a legal separation.
Medical Decisions. When a spouse is incapacitated, it typically falls to the other spouse to make
medical decisions for the incapacitated one. If you and your spouse are getting legally separated, you
may not want your spouse to have this right anymore. However, the only way to assure that someone
else has the right to make medical decisions on your behalf is to create an advance medical directive
such as a healthcare power of attorney or healthcare proxy.
Spousal Shares. Married couples are legally entitled to inherit from each other if the other should die.
The amount they inherit differs by state, but is generally known as a “spousal share.” If you are getting
separated and your will leaves your spouse more than the required spousal share, you should consider
changing your will so that your wife is entitled to receive only the amount guaranteed by law.
Guardians. If you're getting a separation and you have minor children, you'll want to coordinate with
your spouse to name replacement guardians should either of you die. Even if spouses are engaged in a
contentious separation, you should try to put your differences aside, for as long as it takes to come to
an agreement about the care and well-being of your children so you can select guardians of whom you
Experienced estate planning attorneys Seattle WA of the Byrd Garrett PLLC offers estate planning and
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please visit http://www.byrdgarrett.com today.