It’s a good practice to review your estate plan after a major life event, including marriage. Newlyweds who have estate plans when they get married should review those plans to ensure that the plans still reflect their desires now that they are married. For newlyweds who do not have an estate plan, working with a Texas estate-planning lawyer to develop an estate plan is an important step in preparing for their future lives together.
Estate Planning Tips for Newlyweds
Most newlyweds do not think very much about an estate plan unless they already have an estate plan, or they entered into a premarital agreement that addresses estate planning issues. If a couple does not have an estate plan, five important estate planning steps they need to take now include:
1. Create a Will
A will is a basic estate planning document that everyone needs. If you do not have a will when you die, Texas intestate laws dictate the distribution of your estate. The intestate laws may not dispose of assets in the manner in which you would like your estate to be distributed. The only way to ensure that your estate is administered according to your wishes and your spouse is protected is to create a will.
2. Review Beneficiary Designations
Some assets pass directly to beneficiaries outside of probate. Life insurance policies, retirement accounts, some bank accounts, annuities, and some brokerage accounts pass directly to a beneficiary. Update your beneficiary designations to add your spouse unless you intend to leave this property to a person other than your spouse.
3. Create Durable Powers of Attorney
Durable Powers of Attorney permits your spouse to handle financial affairs on your behalf, even if you become incapacitated. A Durable Power of Attorney can make it easier for spouses to continue managing their finances if one spouse becomes ill, has to travel, or cannot be present to handle financial matters for any reason.
4. Consider Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney
A Medical Power of Attorney or Health Care Power of attorney gives your spouse the legal authority to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so because of an illness, injury, dementia, or other condition.
Living Wills address end-of-life medical decisions. You can appoint an agent, such as your spouse, to ensure that your wishes are carried out even though you may not be able to speak for yourself. A Living Will can help ensure that your decisions regarding life-sustaining or life-prolonging medical treatments are honored.
5. Consider Whether You Need Trust Agreements
Trust agreements serve several purposes. A trust can avoid probate, reduce the taxable value of your estate, protect property from creditors, and provide income for family members with special needs, pets, and other individuals. You may want to create a revocable living will to hold assets that have significant value. Trust agreements are used in estate planning, asset protection, long-term care planning (Medicaid planning), and retirement planning.
Contact a Texas Estate Planning Attorney for More Information
If you and your spouse are newly married or have been married for decades, you can benefit from reviewing your estate plan with an experienced Texas estate planning lawyer. Give you and your spouse the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that you have taken the necessary steps to protect each other and your loved ones should the unthinkable happen. Contact the Law Office of Carey Thompson today to learn more about estate-planning best-practices.