Estate Planning For the Newly Married
Now is the perfect time to start working on an estate plan—because, as newlyweds, you may not have a list of your accounts, but you have effectively just done a working inventory of your possessions—as you have figured out how to consolidate two households into one. You have already been working on the new banking and shared responsibility of bills and taxes and so forth.
Use that all time and energy and work as a leapfrog into planning for your future—so you will be that much more prepared for the house, the kids, and the next stages of your new life together.
Why Think About Estate Planning At This Point?
Even if you have few assets, as we just talked about, you have more than you think. Still, putting together a will or a trust probably is very straightforward at this point, since you just did that accounting of your collective assets.
You may have heard of state laws that give your property to a spouse, if you do not have a will. These laws—known as intestacy laws—vary by state and can sometimes have results you would not expect. And, intestacy requires your estate going to probate—a court proceeding that can take months, even years, to resolve. So a basic estate plan should give you some peace of mind—knowing loved ones are taken care of, if anything should happen.
You can even plan for property you do not yet own (a house you may buy some day) and provide for children whenever they arrive on the scene. And once you have that initial plan in place, you can easily update it as your circumstances and needs change.
Furthermore, if you already have a sizable amount of assets then estate planning may lead to tax benefits, now and in the future.