Estate planning is challenging in many ways, but it is also a very nice feeling to be able to make a difference in the lives of your loved ones and perhaps even your favorite charities and/or non-profit organizations. You may be sitting in your favorite chair watching a Syracuse basketball game thinking back on all of the great times you had there as an undergraduate at the Carrier Dome and decide to include a nice behest to the athletic department in your estate plan. You may also think that you would love to give your vacation cabin to the Boy Scouts, and make sure that your cousin’s daughter can afford that beauty shop she talked about last time you saw her.
These may be great ideas, but how will your wife feel about them? Does she have a right to weigh in on decisions such as these? When you think about married couples who have never been divorced engaging in estate planning it’s easy to envision a single entity that agrees on everything, but most real living, breathing human beings don’t melt into one being. It may be relatively easy to agree on some things, like taking care of the children and grandchildren, but when it gets down to some of the optional discretionary decisions there can be profound divergences of perspective.
There is nothing at all wrong with this and it need not present a problem. In fact, being able to make your own personal decisions when you are married and planning your estate may be something that most people want but never get due to a reluctance to defy convention. If you simply execute a post-marital agreement that spells out the personal property of each person, that freedom to give what is yours in the manner of your choosing is there for you.