Marriage Estate Planning
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Marriage Estate Planning: What You Need To Know

While it may not be the first thing on your mind, sitting down to work out an estate plan is a smart thing to do after your marriage. Creating or updating your estate plan will help your new family unit handle the unexpected.

Change Account Beneficiaries

Start by updating the easiest thing involved in this process: Your beneficiaries or transfer on death designations. This relates to IRA and 401(k) accounts. If you or your spouse wish to leave an account to someone else or split it between parties, you may need a notarized acknowledgement.

Update the following aspects:

  • Bank accounts.
  • Investment accounts.
  • Insurance policies.
  • Existing will or trust.
  • 401(k) plan.
  • Health Savings Account.
  • IRA.

Update Wills

Both spouses should discuss how you want your assets split up if something happens to one or both of you. Of course, this can be a difficult conversation, so take it slow and try to focus on the people you care about as you prepare for a worst case scenario.

Consider the following questions:

  • How should your assets be divided if you should be incapacitated or pass away?
  • Should your children or parents get a set amount of money?
  • Who do you want to care for your children?

Once you come to agreement, make sure the necessary directives are cemented in a formal will.

Durable Powers Of Attorney

Your spouse will be unable to handle your financials if you become incapacitated, unless you have a durable power of attorney in place. This can affect everything from your business affairs to real estate. To ensure you can each make decisions on the other’s behalf, you must put a durable power of attorney in place.

It is a good idea to check each financial institute you work with to figure out if they require their own paperwork. You can always find a third party to represent your family if one spouse prefers not to take on this responsibility.

Create Advance Medical Directive

You must be sure your spouse knows what you would wish for in specific medical situations by drafting an advanced medical directive. In this, you will nominate each other as healthcare proxies. These documents will outline your medical preferences and give each of you the requisite power of attorney to access medical records and make important healthcare decisions.

Make the following considerations:

  • Would you want to exhaust all medical options to stay alive?
  • Would you want to be kept on life support for as long as possible?

Consider A Trust

If you and your spouse have a sizeable estate, it’s best to consider creating a trust. This will give you more options for managing and bequeathing assets, as well as avoiding probate and making property transitions smooth.

Title Assets Properly

There are several ways to title your assets once you are a married couple. A Joint-tenancy with rights of survivorship will pass the assets to your spouse upon your death. However, it does not provide for power of attorney when incapacitated.

Tenants-in-common ensures that each spouse’s share is distributed as directed by his or her will. Take plenty of time to figure out your titling options for financial accounts and property.


  1. Just Married? Congratulations! Now, About Your Estate Plan. Retrieved May 07, 2024. from

Speak With Our Estate Planning Attorneys In Phoenix, Arizona Today

Estate planning is the right thing to do for the people you love. It’s another way to say “thank you” to those who love you. Some of the decisions are hard, but at Ogborne Law, we will help you navigate these difficult decisions.

Your Arizona estate planning attorney can help you select a will or trust or both. Your estate solution will work for you. You will have the peace of mind that comes with effective planning for the future. Call 602.343.1435 or contact Ogborne Law with questions.

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