As you and your new spouse start your lives together, you may be looking forward to the future. It can be exciting to plan for your new life together, from planning to start a family to moving into your dream home. One often-overlooked plan is the plan you should have in place in case of the very worst. Estate planning is often something that goes neglected until you're much older, but it's never too early to start. Here are four things that you and your sweetheart should handle once the honeymoon is over to plan for your future.
1. UPDATE YOUR LIFE INSURANCE & RETIREMENT ACCOUNT BENEFICIARIES
Easily overlooked, your life insurance and retirement accounts are something that you may have in place for a time far in the future. Before you reach that point though, it's important to update your beneficiaries to include your new spouse. Even if they were listed before, name changes and relationship changes may still require attention. Give your insurance or retirement plan administrator a call and ensure that the right person is named as your beneficiary. In the event that you pass away before your spouse, they will be the one to receive the proceeds of your policy or account.
2. NOMINATE GUARDIANS FOR YOUR CHILDREN
Whether you have entered your marriage with children or are planning on having them in the future, it's never too soon to begin thinking of who would care for them if you no longer were able to. A will is an important document, even if you feel you don't have enough assets to make it worthwhile. You can legally nominate guardians for your children, even if you haven't had them yet. Should something happen to you and your spouse, a will is the only legal way to dictate your wishes for their guardianship.
3. COMPLETE POWER OF ATTORNEY DOCUMENTS
If you haven't already done so, you should designate a financial power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney. These are two separate documents, but you can name the same person to perform both duties if you see fit. By designating a representative (or two) with these documents, you allow for another person, such as your spouse, to make financial, legal, and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. A financial power of attorney will allow them to make financial decisions, while a medical power of attorney allows them to uphold your wishes for medical care, so it's important to complete both.
4. UPDATE YOUR HOME'S DEED
If you owned a home prior to the marriage, you should consider adding your spouse's name to the deed. Should you pass away with the home only in your name, it can be a challenge for the home to pass to your spouse, even if there is a will in place which dictates it. There can be significant consequences for a shared deed in the event of a divorce, however, so it's important to discuss the changes with your estate planning attorney before making any decisions.
Planning your future together shouldn't be stressful. Our Rhode Island probate attorneys can help you and your spouse develop your estate plans so that your future is protected, no matter what happens. Schedule a free consultation with Inman & Tourgee today to learn more.
Contact our office online or by calling (401) 823-9200.
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