One of the first things a newlywed couple in California should do is create or update their estate plans. Taking these steps early might ensure that if unexpected events occur, the remaining spouse will have access to assets in order to pay for final expenses, maintain the family home and care for minor children.
The simplest step to take is to update beneficiary information on financial accounts. Changing the designations to list the spouse on these forms will ensure the money in retirement accounts, life insurance policies and bank accounts is transferred directly to the surviving spouse. Newlyweds should also consider adding a secondary beneficiary in case both spouses perish in an accident.
In addition to updating beneficiaries, newly married couples also need to create or update their will. If the couple has children together or from previous relationships, it is important to designate a guardian for them in a will. A will can also give directions on how to handle other assets.
Couples may also need to change the titles on their financial accounts and real estate after the wedding. There are a few different options, and the one a couple chooses can have a significant effect on how the assets are handled if one of the owners dies or becomes incapacitated. Advanced medical directives and powers of attorney can give a person control over their own health care decisions and financial matters even if they unable to act for themselves.
An attorney who focuses on estate planning may work with a newlywed couple to help them update or create an estate plan. Doing so might help couples feel secure about their future and plan for the unexpected.
Source: The Motley Fool, “Estate Planning for Newlyweds“, Anna Wroblewska , December 29, 2014