CA Estate Planning Blog

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Important Estate Planning Steps for Newlyweds

Are you newly married?  The honeymoon isn’t even over yet, but, one of the first things you should think about is estate planning.  People are getting married later in life and may have amassed a large amount of assets before entering into their first nuptials.  That is why it is important to understand how your marriage affects the way your estate will be handled and to create an estate plan with these considerations in mind.  Newlyweds can do certain things to create a comprehensive estate plan and should always start this process by discussing everything with their new spouse.

Update Beneficiaries on Accounts
One of the easiest ways to start the estate planning process is to change the beneficiaries on your financial accounts.  These accounts include banking, investment and retirement accounts.  You should also talk to your spouse about who you would want to inherit from your estate should something happen to both of you.

Last Will and Testaments
You should execute or update your will.  A will instructs how you would like your property distributed after you die.  In most cases, spouses name each other as beneficiaries to each other’s estates.  But, this might not be right for you.  You should consider other beneficiaries such as existing children, parents and other loved ones if you would like them to inherit from your estate.
Discuss it with your spouse and decide how you would like your assets distributed in the event of your death or if both of you die.  

Durable Power of Attorney
If you and your spouse want to be able to make personal and financial decisions on each other’s behalf in the event of incapacity, you should appoint each other in reciprocal durable powers of attorney.  You should also check with your account holders to determine if you will need additional paperwork for the appointments to apply to specific financial accounts.

Advanced Directives
You and your spouse should also be sure to discuss end of life issues.  You should each document your wishes in advanced directives and appoint each other as health care proxies if you decide that is the best course of action.

If you have a sizeable estate and/or own a lot of property, you should discuss with your attorney the best way to title your assets and the possibility of using a trust in your estate plan.  Whenever you have a major life event, i.e. marriage, children, divorce, death of a loved one, you should think about how this affects your estate plan. It is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney on these matters such as the Orange County, California attorney Brian Chew.  Call OC Wills and Trust Attorneys at (949)347-5256 for a consultation today.

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