Developing an estate plan is probably not on the minds of most Pennsylvania newlyweds. However, it is wise to take the time to create or review your end-of-life plans and documents soon after, if not before, you marry.
Work on financial accounts first
One of the first things you should do as part of the estate planning process is to open new joint banking and investment accounts, even if you keep some accounts solely in your name. Be sure to update the beneficiaries of your life insurance, pension, and other financial assets. Consider changing the title to any property you own, including real estate, to reflect your new status. You should do this in consultation with an attorney to understand the implications of these choices for tax purposes, estate planning purposes, and what would happen in the unlikely event of a divorce.
What about other documents?
If you don’t have a will, think about drafting one, as it will be easier than planning your wedding. Getting an additional life insurance policy is another consideration for those planning to start a family. Other essential documents include powers of attorney for finances and healthcare in case you become incapacitated, and advanced healthcare directives (i.e. living wills). Check other documents like your Social Security card to ensure that they include accurate information.
Avoiding estate problems
No one wants to think about the end of their life, especially when they have just got married. Nevertheless, dying without a will or other estate provisions like trusts, means that your property is intestate and the Intestacy Law will determine who gets your possession, sometimes involving a long, drawn-out process. Note that you can change estate documents throughout your life, as nothing is set in stone unless you choose to make it irrevocable. Periodically review your plan to ensure that it reflects your current needs.
Are you confused about where to start? Don’t be. Contact our law office today to schedule an estate consultation. We can recommend which documents you need, help create your will and set up trusts. You and your spouse deserve peace of mind as you embark on your new life.