Romance is in the air. Spring is the time for marriages, and with America coming out of the Covid pandemic, you can bet that wedding calendars will be filled. The thought of weddings and romance, honeymoons, guest lists, where to register, etc., leaves little room for estate planning. This article will provide five estate planning tips for newlyweds.
1. Prenuptial Agreement. The most unromantic subject discussed by folks who are planning to be married is a prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a prenup, which is a written contract you and your spouse enter into before getting legally married. It details exactly what happens to finances and assets during your marriage and, of course, in the event of divorce. A prenup is particularly important if one of the spouses already has significant assets and earnings and wishes to protect them in the event of divorce or death.
2. Revisit your existing estate plan. Even if you come into a marriage with an existing plan, it will be out of date as soon as you are married. Should your spouse become your beneficiary? Should they become your agent under financial and health care powers of attorney? Do you have children that need to be considered in an estate plan?
3. Update your beneficiary designations. Much of one’s estate plan takes place outside of the scope of a will or a trust, but instead by beneficiary designations (known as pay on death or transfer on death). Even if one updates her will or trust, the beneficiary designations must be separately updated. Do you want your future spouse to be a beneficiary of life insurance, IRAs, or other pay on death accounts?
4. Consider real estate. It is common for a married couple to choose to live in the residence of one of the spouses. This is a subject that should be covered in the prenup, but in a greater picture, in the event of the death of the owner, would you want this real estate to pass to the survivor, or would you want the survivor simply to have the right to live in the property for a specified period of time?
5. Manage Life Insurance. One important goal in marriage is making sure that one spouse is taken care of in the event of your death. A married couple often relies on the incomes of both spouses, and death will throw a big ranch into that plan. Therefore, one should consider life insurance as a substitute for one’s earning capacity. Meet with a skilled life insurance planner who can help fill that void.
If you are soon-to-be-married or recently married and anything in this article makes you realize that you should not put off estate planning, I suggest you read over these estate planning tips for newlyweds and make an appointment with a skilled estate planning attorney.
Louis A. Silverman, a board-certified specialist in estate, trust and probate law, is the founder of Silverman Law Offices in Tempe. He can be reached at 480-491-3216 or visit the firm’s website: www.silvermanlawpc.com