From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: What does estate planning as newlyweds involve?
Most recently updated on June 27, 2018.
Discussing estate planning as newlyweds can feel, to many people, like a doom and gloom conversation. Especially after months of picking out wedding cakes, perusing gowns and shopping for flowers. However, having an estate plan to protect and care for your new spouse can not only strengthen your financial situation, it can also help your marriage.
As time passes, starting an estate plan will only become more complicated; children and grandchildren are born, assets change, and family dynamics shift. As newlyweds, getting an early start on an estate plan will lay the groundwork for your future.
Here are some of the documents that typically make up part of estate planning as newlyweds:
Wills: An Important Piece of Estate Planning as Newlyweds
Consider having a last will and testament drafted by an estate planning professional. It not only provides for as to how your property will be distributed but also allows you to choose a guardian, making sure that any children you may have or plan to have are cared and provided for. In most states, it has become easy to also set up protective trusts for your spouse and children to shelter what you leave them from attack by future creditors and spouses, but these trusts must be in your will and cannot be created after your death.
Living Wills for Newlyweds
A living will allows you and your spouse to make difficult end-of-life decisions for yourselves ahead of time, sparing your loved ones any guesswork when it comes to your wishes. This way, when the time comes, your spouse, children or grandchildren will not have the enormous burden of making these choices for you. They can simply follow your wishes.
Powers of Attorney for Newlyweds
In the event that you or your spouse cannot handle your own financial and legal affairs due to illness, accident or being far away from your family, a power of attorney allows an individual or entity to handle these matters on your behalf. This ensures that while you are unavailable, someone you trust can keep your affairs in order. For example, if you own a house jointly, if your spouse becomes incapacitated you may need to sell the house. Without this document, you are not able to sell the house without involving the courts.
Other Important Topics to Discuss When Estate Planning as Newlyweds
By going through the estate planning process, you will also be able to talk about those “difficult” subjects. Some examples include the need to save for retirement or a new house in an asset-protection friendly manner, or the need for life insurance to make sure your surviving spouse is not forced to sell the house or take your child out of private school.
What would happen if we did not have proper documents prepared?
Without a will, living will and power of attorney, decisions regarding your property, children and health care could be made by the courts, not only delaying the probate process, but also possibly dictating a division of assets or appointment of guardians for your children that is far different than your intent.
While these three documents do not encompass the full array of estate planning options available for consideration, they provide a solid framework for your family’s legal and financial future. Marital financial planning is much more than deciding, “who gets what” if the marriage dissolves. By beginning your life together with a good estate plan, you help avoid potential issues and expenses down the road. Most importantly, you gain the satisfaction of knowing you have provided a secure future for your new family.
More Planning Questions?
Estate Planning as Newlyweds is only a piece of the Estate Planning process. By all means, if you want to learn more, please read my more detailed article, Estate Planning Everything You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: Estate Planning as Newlyweds
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining the important aspects of estate planning as newlyweds. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website so you can learn more. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!
Let our Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced estate planning lawyers. By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!
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