Summer wedding season is in full swing. As new couples undertake the countless hours of planning required for their wedding day, they often do not consider how the changes in their near future will affect their individual estate plan. Take a minute to review these basic estate planning considerations so you can be sure that your assets will be protected after you tie the knot, and far beyond.
If you have a will, you are ahead of the game. Approximately half of all adult Americans do not have a proper will in place to protect their interests. Wills are legally binding documents which allow you to decide how your property and assets will be distributed after you pass. If you do not have a will or another form of estate plan in place when you die, your personal wishes about how your property should be divided may not be adhered to.
If you do not have a will it is important that you and your spouse-to-be meet with an estate planning attorney to have one drafted. If you have one already, you may still want to meet with an experienced professional so that you can alter the document to include your spouse.
The process of estate planning for new or soon-to-be married couples is not just about creating legal documents that protect your future. Estate planning also opens up the channels of communication to discuss how property and assets will be divided throughout your life. Being open and honest about your financial situation is an essential building block for a strong relationship, so deciding how you will handle the division and ownership of assets can set your marriage up for success.
Similarly, the process can prompt conversation between spouses about items such as healthcare directives and power of attorney. Though these estate planning elements can be difficult to discuss, healthcare directives and powers of attorney are essential to protecting your interests when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Having open and honest conversations about these difficult topics earlier in your relationship will prevent any uncertainty about your wishes if your spouse is forced to communicate decisions on your behalf.
While you are planning for your big day, do not forget to plan for the rest of your life. Setting up a sound estate plan now will protect your interests throughout the course of your marriage, and beyond. For more information on basic estate planning considerations for new couples, or to discuss your individual situation with an experienced estate planning attorney, contact the estate planning attorneys at Alperstein & Diener, P.A.