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Estate Planning Essentials for Newlyweds

By: Saira Taylor
May 21, 2015


Wedding season is upon us. If you’re like me, your mailbox is bursting with Save the Dates.

Between cake tastings, dress fittings, meltdowns, and rehearsals leading up to the big day, there is little time for the more practical “I do” to-do’s such as estate planning. Whether it’s your client or your client’s children getting (re)married, creating or updating the estate plan is essential.

Once the couple has made it through the wedding, enjoyed their honeymoon, and is settling into their life together you may want to suggest a meeting to discuss the following:

  • Update beneficiary designations – Perhaps the quickest and easiest to do, but often forgotten. Accounts to be updated include, but are not limited to, qualified plans, IRAs, insurance accounts, and education accounts.

  • Review life insurance needs – First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes… if the newlyweds want to have children in the future, they might consider purchasing additional life insurance. 

  • Establish their wills – Encourage your clients to discuss how they want their assets to be divided should anything happen to them. Ask your clients to give you a copy of their will to make sure beneficiary designations are consistent with the provisions of the Will. They should also address guardianship for their children or future children.

  • Powers of attorney –  Marriage does not warrant a spouse the right to handle individual medical and financial affairs if one spouse becomes incapacitated. Clients must implement a power of attorney and advance directives to ensure they can make medical and legal financial decisions on the other’s behalf.

  • Home and account titling – If either spouse purchased a home prior to marriage or has a separate bank or brokerage account it’s wise to review how the property or account is titled. They may want to re-title the property or account, placing ownership in both names.  However there are valid reasons for owning some assets separately. 

Estate planning is a practical necessity. Reassure your clients that the time they spend updating their estate plans will give their family comfort and security if anything happens to one or both of them.  

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