Getting married is exciting. There’s a lot to talk about — and a lot to plan. Once you get through picking a wedding venue and deciding where you’re going to live, however, you and your future spouse need to talk about one more important thing: your estate plans.
The odds are good that you don’t have any — and neither does your spouse-to-be. Only about 32% of Americans overall have their estate plans in place — although a marriage means that you’d need to revise your existing ones.
If you’ve never considered what to put in an estate plan when you marry, here’s where to start:
- What policies, titles and accounts need to be updated? It’s probably time to change your designated beneficiary on your insurance policies, bank accounts, car title and investment accounts (to name a few things).
- Who do you want to name as secondary beneficiaries? If you and your spouse die the same accident, do you want your assets divided among certain family members, left to charity or something else?
- Who will carry your powers of attorney? Most likely, you both want each other to serve as your powers of attorney for medical decisions and financial matters if either of you should become incapacitated.
- Do you need wills? Maybe you have very little in the way of assets right now — but that may change. You may also want to designate, in writing, some keepsakes to specific relatives.
Estate planning can be a grim topic that a lot of people would prefer to avoid. However, you shouldn’t start your life with someone without putting everything in place that can protect them (and you) in case the worst happens.