Marriage is full of making plans for fun events to celebrate your union. During this time, estate planning may be the farthest thing from your mind. Estate planning can allow you and your spouse to have financial security and overall peace of mind. Here are some estate planning “to do’s” after saying, “I do!”
How to Choose Beneficiaries
The first thing you and your spouse should do is to choose or update your beneficiary designations on your accounts. This is a crucial step for any accounts such as 401(k)’s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). While sometimes difficult to discuss, you should both consider who would acquire your assets if you both passed away. You may also choose to provide instructions in your will or elect a secondary beneficiary. The following should also be updated with beneficiaries:
- Bank accounts
- Insurance policies
- Existing trusts or wills
- Investment accounts
- Any retirement accounts that are sponsored by an employer
- 401(k) plans
- Health savings accounts (HSA)
- Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
Creating Wills and Trusts
Both you and your spouse should discuss how your assets will be split if either of you dies. This may be a morbid topic and can be uncomfortable to talk about, but it is essential to designate your wishes if either of you should perish.
Make sure to focus on the individuals in your life that you would like to benefit from your assets if either of you should die. This could include children, parents, grandparents, cousins, close friends, aunts, or uncles. You should also consider designating who would take custody of your children in the event of an untimely death. Having a solid estate plan can also help avoid probate.
Health Care Proxies
If either you or your spouse becomes gravely injured or ill, having a plan in place to designate what your wishes are in certain medical situations can relieve many family stresses. You can nominate one another as proxies of each other’s health care. This will include documentation outlining your medical preferences and rights to medical records as well as power of attorney.
Powers of Attorney
You and your spouse should consider designating each other as having a durable power of attorney in place. If this is not done, your spouse may not have the rights to handle your financial affairs if you should become injured or die. This may affect your rights regarding any businesses or real estate you own together. Powers of attorney can be a tricky area of law so consult an estate planning attorney for guidance.
If you are a newlywed seeking consultation regarding estate planning, we can help. Contact Auten & Willingham, P.C. today at (214) 643-8757 to learn more about how we can help you and your spouse get started with all your estate planning needs.