The Best Gift for Your New Spouse: An Estate Plan

Marriage is an exciting new journey; one that brings with it a series of new hopes, dreams, and goals for the future. Many of these goals you will make together as you begin your new life. You may think about opening joint bank accounts, filing joint taxes, buying a home, and more. But what many newlyweds don’t think about is making an estate plan.

It does not matter whether you marry younger or older, rich or poor – it is never too early to begin planning. The purpose of an estate plan is to ensure that the goals and desires of you and your spouse are carried out should either of you ever find yourselves in certain situations. As your family grows, and your bank account and other assets (hopefully) increase, you can always decide to change all or part of it.

Six Items and Tasks of Which Every Newlywed Couple Should Engage

Since the idea of an estate plan can be overwhelming for many, there are certain things to focus on. Here are six items and tasks every newlywed couple should consider.

  1. If you had any wills or trusts prior to getting married, it is important to review them and decide what changes – if any you would like to make to them. You can amend them or keep them as a part of your new estate plan.
  2. If you have taken a new last name, you must be sure to change it on any of your existing accounts, property titles, or other legal documentation.
  3. Joint bank accounts are much easier to navigate when you lose a spouse. If you wish to change your separate accounts into joint ownership, now is the time to begin the process.
  4. Life insurance policies value youth and health. In other words, it is less expensive to purchase a plan for yourself when you are younger. These policies will serve to protect you, your spouse, and any future children.
  5. Often we include in our vows to be there in sickness or in health. However, in the beginning of a marriage we don’t often give much concern to what would happen if something became medically wrong with our spouse. Having an advance directive for health care provides your partner with a power of attorney to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable.
  6. Determine whether or not you would like to join any of your pre-marital property. Property that is acquired prior to the marriage remains separate property. Therefore if you owned property (such as a car or home) prior to the marriage, now is the time to consider whether you would like for it to become marital (sharing it with your spouse).

You may believe that making an estate plan is morbid – especially if you have married somewhat young. However, it is actually a smart and loving thing to do. Placing the interest of your family’s financial security and health is just another step in imagining a long future together.

Biddle Law Can Help Newlyweds with Estate Planning

If you are newly married (or have married and not planned for your future in these ways), it is extremely important that you consult with a knowledgeable and experienced estate-planning attorney who can answer any questions you may have and walk you through the process. At Biddle Law, we care about your future together and want to assist in protecting it. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, visit us online or call us at 650-532-3470 today!