As a newlywed, one of the last things you and your partner might be thinking about is estate planning. Some newlyweds consider it more of a concern as they age, but it can be crucial to you and your new spouse's financial future. As your family grows, your planning will become more complicated, but if you have a plan in place now, it will be easier to make modifications later. To help get you started, here are some estate planning tips you can use now.
Discuss Your Retirement Accounts
If you and your spouse have retirement accounts, other family members are likely designated as your beneficiaries. Although you have the right to leave your designations as is, you should at least discuss it with each other.
Even if you and your spouse have created wills that designate each other as the main beneficiary, it might not be enough to ensure the accounts pay out to the surviving spouse. Retirement accounts typically defer to whoever is listed as the designee. If someone else is listed, you or your spouse could lose out on obtaining those funds if something happens to one of you.
Create Medical Directives and Power of Attorneys
Although your state's laws might state that the spouse has the right to make financial and medical decisions for someone who is incapacitated, you do not want to take any chances. If there is a challenge made by another family member, the case could end up in the court.
Instead of a legal battle between you or your spouse and family, both of you need to create power of attorneys and medical directives. Your estate planning attorney can help you and your spouse determine under which circumstances the documents would go into effect.
Consider Probate Avoidance
It is never too early to consider methods to avoid probate for your estate. If you and your spouse fail to take action to avoid it, the estate could be tied up for months. Since you are married, there are many ways you can use your relationship to avoid probate, including joint property.
For instance, if you own a home, you can retitle it and add your spouse's name to the deed. If you die before him or her, your spouse would automatically become the sole owner of the property.
To ensure you and your spouse have covered all of your bases, consult with an estate planning attorney, such as those at Acton & Snyder, LLP, as soon as possible.