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5 Estate Planning Tips for Newlyweds

October 06, 2022

After all the excitement of your wedding, it is important to think about the next steps in melding both your legal and financial plans. Here are five key estate planning tips for newlyweds.

Are you recently married? Congratulations, newlyweds! Time to update your estate plan. Making sure you and your spouse are on the same page will ensure that your family is prepared to handle the unexpected. We have some tips to help navigate the essentials of financial and estate planning.

5 key tips

  1. Review your insurance plans - When exploring insurance, be sure to do your homework on the different plans available to you. You may be more dependent on your spouse now that you are married, so having a conversation about life insurance is important. Life insurance is a contract with an insurance company that guarantees payment of a death benefit to named beneficiaries upon the death of the insured person. It can help bring peace of mind, while you’re young and healthy, that your spouse will be financially stable should something happen to you. If you have a mortgage, owning a life insurance policy sufficient to pay off that mortgage should you pass away prematurely will give your spouse peace of mind.

    Additionally, if you’re both employed, decide who has the better health plan—getting married is considered an “event” that allows you to switch health plans outside the annual open enrollment window. A review of your property insurance policies is important to make sure that both of you are covered on your homeowner, auto, personal property policies.
  2. Draft a will - Did you know that many newlyweds get married without a will? A will is an indispensable part of an estate plan. Without a will, the status of your belongings and property post-mortem will be in the hands of the state you reside in. A will lets you designate heirs for your belongings, but also individuals that will look after your young children or pets, if you have any. Any retirement accounts, investments, real estate interests, insurance policies, business ventures, etc. are part of your estate and should be dealt with in your will or with beneficiary designations. Inventory everything you currently own and decide who you would like to inherit each asset. Even if one partner does have an estate plan prior to the wedding, it is essential to make updates after marriage because in many states, marriage voids the prior wills. Arranging an estate plan will not only benefit your spouse, but your surviving children as well. Seeking out the right attorney who personally understands you can make the process painless.
  3. Arrange legal contacts – In addition to wills, your estate plan should involve a power of attorney and other legal contacts. These documents designate individuals who can make decisions when you are unable to. A power of attorney aids in financial decisions, whereas a healthcare proxy makes medical decisions. During the process of completing the forms, it is crucial to choose alternative people who will act as a backup if your spouse cannot do so. Be sure to discuss your wishes, beliefs and healthcare preferences with your designated agent. Another part of the process is signing a Living Will which helps make decisions if someone is on life support. The completion of these forms and decisions makes for a solid foundation in creating an estate plan. These documents should be reviewed periodically.
  4. Assign beneficiaries – Updating beneficiaries may not be at the top of your list, but it is important to consider. Now that you’re married, you likely want to list your spouse as the primary beneficiary for life insurance and retirement accounts. It is important for each partner to review their financial accounts – such as bank and brokerage accounts, 401Ks, and IRAs – and make appropriate changes that include their spouse. All beneficiary designations take automatic precedence over the will. An estate planning attorney can be very helpful in ensuring all steps are followed when creating your estate plan.
  5. Aligning previous assets – Do you or your partner own real estate? If so, you will want to consider whether or not you want to jointly own the property. This can be done through a deed stating joint ownership specific to the state law. It is important to understand your particular state’s laws on joint ownership by spouses as these laws vary.

In all the excitement of your marriage, don’t forget to prioritize estate planning!

Be sure to check out our whitepaper, “Financial Planning For Every Stage of Your Life”, where you can find useful information about the next steps to take as you approach each milestone. Download a copy of it here.

Questions? Contact KLR Wealth Management, LLC.

Investment Advisory Services offered Through KLR Investment Advisors LLC

951 North Main St, Providence, RI 02904

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