How to Convince Your Spouse to Get Started with Estate Planning

The following is a friendly kick in the pants written with love by my friend and colleague, Candice N. Aiston, a fellow Estate Planning Attorney for families in the Portland, Oregon area.  Candice and I share a common focus in our practices, which is how we first connected.  Candice helps loving parents to prepare their families for a lifetime of security, prosperity, and guidance. 

How to Convince Your Spouse to Get Started with Estate Planning

Couple-Using-Calculator460x300 Sometimes the biggest hurdle to getting your estate plan in place is that you’re not the only decision-maker in your household, and your spouse is not on board with getting started, for one (insaaane!) reason or another. It’s very important that both partners understand WHY they need an estate plan and WHAT the important elements of that plan are. To help you convince your spouse that it’s time to call and make that appointment, I have put together a fun and friendly guide to some of the common objections by reluctant spouses, and what you can say to let them know that you hear them…but that you have a LOT to lose and that it’s time to move forward already.

1.  “We can’t afford it.”
Honeybabe, we can’t afford NOT to do this! This is one of those things in life that we have to FIND a way to afford, because we have too much to lose if we neglect this important planning. Taking care of our family is our highest value, and if we don’t plan for the care of our kids and assets if something happens to us, the kids could end up with the wrong people, and they could lose several thousand to several hundred thousand dollars in lawyer fees and taxes! Besides, Aiston Law LLC offers payment plans, so there’s no reason not to call and make an appointment!

2.  “I don’t have time.”
Sweetcakes, this is a priority for our family. We need to MAKE time to do this. Just like you would take off work for a doctor’s appointment, you need to find a way to get to these lawyer appointments. It’s going to take a heck of a lot more time for our family to sort out the mess if we don’t get something in place. Besides, all we have to do is show up, hear about what our situation looks like, decide on a plan that works for our family, and let the lawyer do the rest! We’d come in once more to sign the documents, and then once more for a final appointment. Then we’re set until our three-year review!

3.  “We don’t have a lot, so we don’t need this level of complicated planning.”
Darlingface, when did you go to law school and then spend years afterward learning about the intricacies estate planning? Never? Then you don’t really know what our estate looks like, what dangers our family faces, or what kind of planning would be best for our situation. From what I have already learned, each family is quite unique, and the only way to know what we need is to see an estate planning attorney who can help families like ours.

4.  “I can get a will done through my work/ Pre-Paid Legal/ LegalZoom/ on the internet.”
Lovely dearest, from what I understand, these employer programs like Pre-Paid Legal force lawyers to agree to a ridiculously low fee, which makes me think, “What could I possibly be getting for this amount of money?” I hear that most reputable estate planners won’t sign up for these programs, and so most of the attorneys are general practitioners. How are they going to tell us about changes in the law and how specific aspects of estate planning affect our family? And how much will we have to pay if we call the lawyer later on down the road or need followup work done? As far as Legal Zoom and the internet go, Legal Zoom is actually being sued by several people’s estates, who claim that the documents didn’t even work! I don’t want to take the risk that my plan doesn’t work and let my kids suffer for it.

5.  “My uncle/ brother/ college buddy is a criminal defense/ bankruptcy/ personal injury/ corporate attorney, and he said he could do our wills.”
Cupcake, Uncle Bob is the first guy I’ll call if I’m ever accused of a crime, but he’s not an estate planning attorney. Ask Uncle Bob if he thinks Candice Aiston should take on a criminal defense client! Estate Planning attorneys live, eat, and breathe this stuff. They work all day long on solving estate planning puzzles and problems, and when they’re not officially working, they’re socializing with other estate geeks and reading estates materials and attending estates seminars. Uncle Bob doesn’t do all that stuff, so how will he know when there’s a change in the law that affects our family, or if we have some sort of complicated family or financial situation?

6.  “This is just going to be a big giant pitch that I don’t need.”
Sugarbuns, there IS going to be a pitch. That’s what people who believe in their business do. They ask you to go forward with their services. But it will be a pitch we need, otherwise there will be no pitch. If Candice doesn’t think she can help us, she’ll let us know. She’ll first show us what we stand to lose, and then show us the various ways we can avoid those dangerous scenarios. The good thing is that we get to choose our level of planning and we’ll know exactly how much we’ll be spending. No hourly fees. It even includes a free plan review every three years.

7.  “Who is this Candice Aiston person, anyway?”
Angelheart, if you don’t know Candice Aiston, you’d better take a look at her website, read her free report, or check out her awesome blog. Candice puts together the most useful information about estate planning for families like ours, and she frequently writes and speaks about these issues. She has a workshop that she gives at preschools and moms groups all over Portland called “Getting Your Ducks in a Row,” and she’s even writing a book for parents! She’s the best choice for parents who want the very best in life for their kids. Let’s call right now to make that appointment!

[As you can tell, I had a bit of fun with this post. Hope you enjoyed it.]

To your family’s health & prosperity,


About Danielle G. Van Ess

Danielle G. Van Ess is a Massachusetts (born and raised), experienced estate planning and small business attorney who helps her clients protect and preserve what matters most to them. To learn more, please visit: or call: 781-740-0848