The excitement of the wedding and the honeymoon have settled, and now it’s time to start building your life with your new spouse. It’s highly unlikely you want to think about the unglamorous things that come along with marriage, including estate planning, but it’s essential.
It’s important as a newly married couple to begin laying the groundwork for your estate plans, even if it’s not something that you really want to be doing.
Without proper estate planning, newly married couples aren’t protecting themselves or each other, and it’s a key practicality that must be dealt with in a timely way.
The following are some of the most important aspects of estate planning that should be done when you get married.
Create a Will
When you’re newly married, particularly as a young couple, you might feel like you don’t need a will because you have very few assets to cover. This is a mistake, and it’s important that when you get married, regardless of your bank account or assets, that you visit a qualified estate lawyer to create a will.
Even possessions that don’t necessarily seem like assets need to be included in a will, to make sure that your spouse gets things you want them to have in the event of your death. If you already have a will and you’ve just been married, it’s important to update it as well.
Review Your Insurance
Life insurance is a must-have for married couples, and it’s something you should certainly consider, particularly if one spouse is more dependent on the other financially.
When you’re thinking about life insurance and reviewing your insurance policies, it can also be a good time to do a general overview of your other policies and make sure you have all the necessary protection, including plans for those new wedding rings.
Talk To Your Employer
If you have insurance or retirement accounts through your employer, after you get married you should pay your company’s HR department a visit. You will need to add your spouse as your designated beneficiary to any applicable policies including life insurance that’s offered through work, as well as your retirement account.
Often, if this isn’t taken care of and a spouse unexpectedly passes away, they may either not have a beneficiary which means the retirement account could have to go through probate or their parents may still be named as their beneficiary.
Power Of Attorney
Again, discussing issues such as wills and power of attorney may not be how you ideally envisioned your marriage beginning, but doing so early on can give you peace of mind and a sense of security.
When you’re working on estate planning with your new spouse, don’t leave out things like powers of attorney. You want your spouse to be able to make medical, legal and financial decisions for you if you’re incapacitated or an accident occurs.
In addition, in the event both spouses are injured, for example in an automobile accident where they’re traveling together, it’s also a good idea to include an alternate decision maker.
The above aren’t necessarily every component of estate planning you need to manage after your wedding, but they are some of the most important ones. Working with a lawyer who specializes in estate planning will help you navigate the process and make the right decisions for you and your new spouse.