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Why young couples should tie up estate planning after tying the knot

When a young couple makes the momentous decision to get married, it often sets off months of planning that will undoubtedly leave them feeling satisfied yet completely exhausted after their walk down the aisle.

However, once this excitement clears and the fatigue fades, and the honeymoon is truly over, it's important for them to start making some important life decisions. These include everything from where they want to live and whether they want to start a family to how they want to manage their finances going forward and when they plan on executing an estate plan.

While couples in these situations may think they don't need to consider estate planning so soon in their marriage, this is far from the case.

Indeed, some of the basic steps that legal experts urge people in these situations to consider taking include:

  • Executing a simple will: This step can ensure that all property goes to a spouse and can even help ensure that the terms of a prenuptial agreement are honored in the event of one spouse's demise (if that's what they would like to occur).
  • Executing a durable power of attorney for health care and a living will: This step can ensure that you are able to make medical decisions on the part of your spouse, while also making sure exact wishes concerning certain medical care are covered.
  • Changing your beneficiaries: This step can help ensure that any retirement account or life insurance proceeds go to your spouse and won't be tied up in prolonged legal proceedings.    

It's important to understand that these are very basic steps and that a young couple may have unique needs calling for a more complex estate planning solution. That's precisely why it's so important to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

Source: Financial Planning, "5 estate planning essentials for newlyweds," Tracy Craig, March 23, 2015

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