Even if you are newlyweds, it’s never too early to start thinking about estate planning. Being on the same page as your spouse will ensure your family is ready and able to handle the unexpected. Below are some helpful tips to navigate financial and estate planning.
Tip 1. Review Insurance Plans
Always be sure to do your homework on different available plans when checking into insurance possibilities. Now that you are married, you may be more dependent on your spouse. This means having a conversation about life insurance is essential. Life insurance is a contract with an insurance company that guarantees payment of a death benefit to named beneficiaries upon the insured person’s death.
Life insurance can help bring peace of mind knowing your spouse will be financially stable should something unfortunate happen to you. If you have a mortgage, owning a life insurance policy sufficient to pay off said mortgage can make your spouse’s life easier long-term.
Additionally, if both spouses are employed, you can figure out who has the better health plan. Getting married is considered an event that allows you to switch your plan outside of the annual enrollment window. A review of your property insurance policy can help to ensure both of you are covered on homeowner, personal property, and auto policies.
Tip 2. Draft A Will
Did you know that the majority of newlyweds get married without a will in place? A will is a crucial aspect of an estate plan. Without the presence of a will, the status of your belongings and property post-mortem will be in the hands of the state you are located in. A will lets you designate heirs for your assets, while also naming individuals that will look after your children and/or pets, if applicable.
Any retirement accounts, real estate interests, investments, business ventures, and insurance policies are to be dealt with in the will with your beneficiary designations. Take account of all your possessions and determine who you’d like to inherit each asset. If your partner already has an estate plan prior to the wedding, it’s essential to make updates since most states void prior wills following marriage. Arranging an estate plan will not only benefit your spouse, but your children, as well. An experienced attorney can make this a painless process.
Tip 3. Arrange Legal Contracts
Your estate plan should include power of attorney and other legal documents. These documents will designate individuals who can make decisions if you are unable to. A power of attorney facilitates financial decisions, whereas a healthcare proxy makes medical decisions. While completing these forms, it’s important to choose alternative people who will serve as backups if your spouse cannot do so.
Discuss your beliefs, wishes and healthcare preferences with your designated individual ahead of time. Signing a Living Will can help make decisions if someone happens to be on life support. The completion of these documents and decisions creates a solid foundation for an estate plan. Make sure to review said documents periodically.
Tip 4. Assign Beneficiaries
While this may not be a top priority, it is still important to update your beneficiaries. Now that you are married, you’ll likely want to list your spouse as your primary beneficiary for life insurance and any retirement accounts. Each spouse should review financial accounts, such as bank accounts, IRAs, and 401Ks, for example. Then, you can make appropriate adjustments to include your spouse. All beneficiary designations will take automatic precedence over the will.
Tip 5. Align Previous Assets
If you and/or your spouse own real estate, you’ll want to consider whether or not you’d prefer to jointly own the property. This can be done through a deed stating joint ownership specific to your state’s laws. It is vital to understand your specific state’s laws on joint ownership by spouses because these laws vary.
There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.
You’ve worked hard for your life, and you need to protect it. You owe it to your family and your legacy to take care of planning now. Contact Ogborne Law to schedule your estate-planning session.