Why Newlyweds Need to Think about Estate Planning
You both have rings on your fingers. No doubt the wedding planning was a long time in the works. However, there’s something else newlyweds need to consider. It might seem too soon to you, but estate planning is exceptionally critical.
You may be reluctant to initiate an estate plan for a very basic reason. Perhaps you and your spouse married right after college. Truth be told, you don’t own real property or much of anything else. So, why would you need an estate plan?
Meanwhile, you may have entered marital bliss in an entirely different set of circumstances. It may be a second or subsequent marriage for you and/or your new husband or wife. The fact that at least one of you has children from a prior relationship is a big deal. Things could get very confusing in the event of incapacitation or death.
The bottom line is that every newlywed’s circumstances are unique. Moreover, estate planning is not just about passing on assets. To put it differently, it’s about protection for you and your new partner.
Estate Planning: Not Just Wills
In many cases, when people hear about estate planning, their mind immediately goes to executing their Last Will and Testament. For that reason, there’s no wonder that there’s a reluctance to sit down with an estate planning attorney. However, there are other considerations.
First, there’s the issue of a power of attorney. There are a few reasons you may need one. When you marry someone, you presumably want them to be in charge of your affairs if you are unable to conduct them. Your attorney can help you determine the limits on your power of attorney. And, just like your will, you can always make changes as time goes on.
What about an advanced medical directive? Regardless of your age, death is inevitable. More than likely, you will want your new husband or wife to know of your wishes when it comes to your medical care. The two of you may elect to sign health proxies giving one another authorization to make critical medical decisions when you can’t make them on your own.
Life insurance policies need to be updated, as well as beneficiaries to retirement accounts. If you own real property, you may want to speak with your attorney to determine the advisability of making it a joint asset. This may be particularly relevant when it comes to the home you live in together.
Once again, couples who have been married before and have children need to pay particular attention to estate planning tools. On the one hand, there may be concerns about protecting your children as heirs. On the other, there could be issues of dividing your estate if you pass without a will.
At the Law Offices of Manfred Sternberg and Associates, we encourage clients to visit us during any life changes. Whether you are newly married or have just put off estate planning, we are happy to assist you. Contact us to schedule an appointment.