People always say that weddings are just the beginning of the journey, and they’re right. After the merriment of your big day wears off, it’s time to make a few more big decisions. However, you should prioritize estate planning with your significant other.
It may seem morbid for some to think about estate planning. It essentially involves instructions on how people can manage your assets upon your incapacitation or death. Now that you have a spouse, you need to inform the world that you give your significant other the authority to make decisions on your wealth on your behalf in case you die or are unable to manage it yourself.
Estate Planning Starts with Organizing Assets
Many newlyweds put off estate planning because they’re still young and healthy. Additionally, it might not seem urgent, especially if they don’t have children yet.
However, organizing your assets and legal documents should be a priority right after your wedding. Not to be a downer, but it’s prudent to plan for your future. You don’t know what the next day holds, and everything can change in a snap.
Tips for Newly Married Couples
When estate planning with your spouse, these are the top tips you should follow:
Update Your Bank Accounts, Policies, and Beneficiaries
Now that you’ve become one with your significant other, you might want to consider opening joint bank accounts and credit cards. You can use these accounts for joint savings and expenses. Of course, you can still retain your personal bank account, but it helps to have a joint account to manage your consolidated wealth easily.
Valuable assets, like life insurance policies, 401(k)s, and IRAs, should be updated with your spouse as a beneficiary as well. These aren’t transferable through a will or trust, so it’s imperative that you update your service providers and the government as soon as possible.
You can name your spouse as a primary beneficiary. Nonetheless, name another trusted individual as a contingent or alternate beneficiary in case your spouse dies before you.
Additionally, you should plan for cases of injury and illness that may render you incapacitated. Prepare medical powers of attorney to give your spouse legal authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so. Prepare financial powers of attorney as well.
Provide Instructions on Your Titled Assets
You can also name your spouse as an executor or trustee for your estate. They will be responsible for handling various financial matters, like locating and valuing assets, paying bills, and hiring an attorney upon your incapacitation or death. They should be someone you trust to carry out your wishes.
Make sure to state clear instructions on how you want your assets to be distributed. After all, you won’t be around to clarify your instructions.
Create Wills and Trusts
Your last will and testament contains your instructions on who receives your assets upon your death and how much you’ve allocated for them. Since you now have a spouse, it’s likely that you want them to receive a bigger portion than others.
How an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help
There are several legal factors to consider when planning for the future with your spouse. It’s best to enlist the help of an estate planning attorney to make sure that you don’t forget any important steps in safeguarding you and your family’s welfare.
A lawyer specializing in this field can ensure that your will and trust are created and executed according to your wishes. They also consider your family dynamics to prevent conflicts in the future.
Law Office of Edward J. McCloskey Specializes in Estate Planning
As newlyweds, estate planning might not be a priority for now. However, it’s best to organize and update your assets and accounts right after your marriage vows. This way, you can ensure protection for yourself and your family. Get in touch with us today for more information on affordable Estate Planning Packages.