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What if your spouse doesn't want to do estate planning?

You know that estate planning is important, and you want to get started. Your spouse, though, has absolutely no interest in the process. Every time you bring it up, he or she shoots it down. What can you do?

First off, there are things that you can do by yourself, and you should focus on those first. This way, at least you're making some progress, rather than letting your spouse's apathy wear off on you.

Now, you will be limited in some ways. While you can write a will, for instance, you can't pick a different beneficiary for your retirement fund -- other than your spouse -- without getting him or her to sign off on it. But, again, doing some of the work is absolutely better than nothing.

It's also important to think about how you're approaching your spouse. For example, you don't want to nag and just annoy your spouse. Instead, get real information about what not having an estate plan means and show your spouse these facts -- like what happens to assets left without a will and how a lack of planning can lead to disputes between kids. This information is more likely to be convincing than simply repeating your request to get started.

Finally, remember that you can help your spouse. By doing planning on your end, if you pass away before your spouse, he or she may directly benefit from your work. Marriage is about taking care of one another, and this is one more way you can do it.

Throughout this entire process, make sure you know what legal steps you should take, and what ones you're even allowed to take without your spouse.

Source: Iris, "How to Get Serious About Estate Planning When Your Spouse Doesn't Want To," Rick Kahler, accessed March 09, 2017

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