THE
RUTKOWSKI REPORT
Keeping Your Family Healthy, Wealthy & Wise
APRIL 2021
rutkowskilawfirm.com
What Do I Do When
One Spouse Becomes Incapacitated?
Financial insights
Are you concerned about
protecting your future? Sitting
down with one of our estate
planning attorneys can be one
of the most important things
you and your spouse do when
it comes protecting your assets
and planning for the future.
It’s important that you make
it clear what happens to your
belongings after you pass away.
During our complimentary
initial consultations, our expert
attorneys will provide guidance
over what to expect and
answer questions. During this
meeting, an important situation
that you will review is what
happens if one spouse becomes
incapacitated while the other
remains healthy. Complications
can come up in unexpected
situations, such as attempting
to sell your home when a notary
public refuses to notarize the
signature of one spouse who
appears to be incapacitated and
therefore, unable to legally sign
these documents. If the house
is jointly owned, as nearly all
married couples’ homes are,
then both owners will need
to sign o on the sale. If one
spouse has died, then the other
will become the sole owner and
can do as they wish, but what
if the other spouse is alive, but
not competent? Without the
right power of attorney, the
competent spouse will need
to go to Probate Court. Many
people express frustration when
they realize that they are unable
to sell the home that they’ve
lived in for 50 years without the
court’s permission.
It is very common for married
couples to say things like, “it’s
fine, we’re joint on everything.
Except that’s usually not
true. It may be true for the
house, for the checking and
savings, maybe even for some
investment accounts. But what
about retirement accounts? If
you have an IRA, 401k, 403b or
other qualified account, your
spouse is not the co-owner of
that account. When people say
their spouse is “on” their IRA,
what they mean is the spouse is
let us help you with your estate planning 1-800-estates (1-800-378-2837) rutkowskilawFirm.com BloomField hills • macomB • rochester