According to the U.S. CensusBureau, the divorce rate of first marriage is around 50 percent; secondmarriages are at 60 to 67 percent and third marriages are at 73 to 74 percent.The fact is married couples frequently disagree â€¦ even when it comes to estateplanning.
Marriage counselors stay inbusiness because of marital disharmony. Commonly, they represent both spousesand seek to find common ground in a team approach. When it comes to estateplanning, however, attorneys face a potential ethical dilemma. For example,estate planning attorneys cannot favor one spouse over the other, nor can theykeep the secrets of one spouse from the other spouse in the course of â€œdualrepresentation.â€
While thereâ€™s no sense startingtrouble where there is none, nor in approaching anything in an overly legal or litigious way, sometimesspouses really do have different estate planning interests. Itâ€™s an ethicalproblem for the spouses and their estate planning attorney alike, as pointedout in a recent Forbes article titledâ€œEthics in Estate Planning for a Married Couple.â€ Thiscertainly is an issue for attorneys (and their malpractice carriers) to fretabout, but also for their clients to understand and appreciate.
Indeed, at certain junctures itmight be necessary for spouses to even engage separate counsel to wrangle theirway through an estate planning impasse. This happens many times with prenuptialand postnuptial agreements, but in other instances as well.
Do you not need separatecounsel? Great! Still, take a moment to read the Forbes article about potential hazards. Above all, if you choose â€œdualrepresentation,â€ make sure you both truly are represented â€“ and included in allattorney-client communications.
For more information on this and otherestate planning subjects, contact IdahoEstate Planning and schedule aconsultation. Remember,good planning is no accident.