Engaged? Congratulations! Between the dress shopping and cake tasting, don’t forget to add “call our lawyer about estate planning” to your long list of wedding “To-do’s.”
While preparing a will and thinking about future emergencies is not as fun as choosing floral arrangements, it is a smart way to say, “I Do” to a safe financial future. Here are the four essential estate planning steps we recommend for newlyweds:
- Have a conversation about estate planning
- Update all beneficiary designations
- Write a will
- Designate a power of attorney
1. Have A Serious Conversation About Your Estate Planning Wishes.
While it may be an uncomfortable conversation, you and your new spouse need to discuss how you want your assets divided should anything happen to one or both of you.
2. Update the Beneficiary Designations Across All Your Financial Accounts.
Once you have decided how your assets will be divided, update your life insurance, 401(k), IRA, or other benefits packages to reflect any changes you wish to make to your accounts, which may include designating your spouse or other family members as the beneficiary. If you own a home, now may also be a good time to update the deed so that your spouse has joint-ownership over the property. You should however discuss with an attorney the consequences of doing so should you later divorce or you or your spouse pass away.
3. Write A Will.
Even if you do not have a lot of assets or any children, it is a good time to meet with a lawyer and draft a will. Your will documents how your property should be divided and allows you to determine who will authorize the distribution of your estate. It also nominates a family member or friend to have guardianship over your future children.
4. Designate Power of Attorney.
Finally, as you are thinking about your will, you should also consider a Financial Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Power of Attorney document. A Financial Power of Attorney will allow your spouse to make financial decisions on your behalf. If you become unable to make your own medical decisions due to an illness, your Healthcare Power of Attorney will allow your spouse to make those choices on your behalf.
Knowing your spouse and family will be taken care of if anything happens to you will bring peace of mind and get your new family off to a great start. Make an appointment with the attorneys in Monroe, NC at Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long LLP to get your estate planning affairs in order.