Estate Planning Basics for Newlyweds

It’s the time of year for beautiful weddings, fun receptions, delicious cakes, special gifts, and romantic honeymoons. While this is a joyous time for everyone, it’s also time for you and your new spouse to plan for your future—for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.

Newlyweds Need to Plan Their Estates Too
Why should newlyweds care about estate planning? Because everyone—young or old, married or single—needs to protect themselves and those they love. Unfortunately, many couples spend more time planning their honeymoon than they do planning the best way to protect each other! And while “estate” may sound rather grand to many newlyweds, the fact is it’s just a fancy word for things that you own, both separately and together. If you have a car or motorcycle, a boat, a home, furniture, computers, jewelry, bank accounts, vacation property, even pets—if you own anything, you have an estate.

The Consequences of Not Having a Plan
The results of becoming incapacitated or dying without an estate plan can be serious, expensive and emotionally wrenching. If you don’t take the time to plan for the distribution of your assets and care of your spouse and/or children, the state will step in and do it for you. And chances are, it will not be the result you would have chosen. It can cause serious financial issues and family discord that may last for generations. Without an estate plan:
• You’ll leave your spouse and the rest of your family in the dark—they won’t know what you would want to happen if you became incapacitated or died. This often leads to family fights as each individual lobbys for what she thinks you would have wanted.
• You may leave a huge burden on your family or spouse to make tough decisions about medical heroics and the withdrawal of life support.
• The court or state law, not you, will decide who makes health care decisions if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
• If you have children, the court may decide who raises them.
• The court can lock down your assets so your spouse has to get court permission before making a financial move.
• You may accidentally disinherit your spouse and/or your children.
• Your beloved pet could end up in a shelter or euthanized.

Plan Early
Everyone likes to believe that they’re immune to the negative consequences of unexpected events. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees.

So, while we sincerely wish you and your new spouse a long and healthy life, we also invite you to set up a complimentary introductory meeting with us. We’ll talk about your assets and goals, and walk you through how to protect each other, your assets (and even your pets), and how to make things easier for those you love in the event that something happens to one of you. Thinking ahead, and choosing to protect the people you love, is one of the best ways to show them how much you care.