Estate planning isn’t listed on most wedding planning checklists in books or on websites, and it’s probably not in your top 10 to-do list right now. It’s more likely you want to focus on kicking up your heels on your honeymoon, settling into your new routine as newlyweds and enjoying each other’s company.
Still, now that you’ve made this important step in your future together, you may as well keep the ball rolling. The time and money spent planning and mapping out your wishes as individuals, and a couple will save you stress and confusion down the road.
Where should we start?
The first place to start when planning your estate is with beneficiary designations. Just as you may need to update your legal last name, license, social security card and home address, there are certain accounts that you will likely want to update as well. Some of these include:
- Bank, 401(k), and individual retirement accounts
- Health and life insurance policies
- Health savings accounts
- Investment accounts
In addition to updating your beneficiary designations, you may also want to appoint your spouse as durable and/or medical power of attorney. Doing so ensures that your preferences and wishes are honored in the event that you lose the ability to speak and choose on your own behalf.
Creating or updating your will is also important as it lays out how you both want your property and other assets divided in the event that one or both of you die. This is especially important if you have prior children or intend to have children soon.
Taking the time to get clear on your estate planning as a married couple can provide invaluable peace of mind as you begin this next chapter in your life.