Many newly married couples put off estate planning sometimes because they think they are too young or because they do not yet have children. However, if you are newly married, this is the perfect time to plan for your future.
Estate planning serves many purposes, including allocating your personal assets, ensuring your family is provided for financially and lowering tax costs associated with your death. By documenting your wishes in an estate plan beforehand, you can ensure your requests will be honored beyond your lifetime.
Estate planning must-have documents
The following are four estate planning documents that a newly married couple should have:
- Durable Financial Power of Attorney. An essential estate planning documents for anyone is a Durable Financial Power of Attorney for finances. This document allows you to designate someone to manage financial matters on your behalf if you become incapacitated and cannot make those decisions for yourself.
- Advanced Directive for Health Care. Every adult should have an Advanced Directive for Health Care (Advanced Directive), regardless of health. An Advanced Directive is where you explain your end of life decisions. The directive allows you to appoint someone you trust to make health care decisions for you when you cannot make these decisions for yourself.
- Beneficiary designations. Assets such as life insurance policies, IRAs, retirement plans and bank accounts should have designated beneficiaries. If, as a couple, you want to ensure your assets pass to the other spouse, if one should die, then you should designate each other as the primary beneficiary on all your financial accounts.
- Having a will can spare your loved ones from a lengthy legal ordeal of dividing up your estate. Your will designates someone to be the executor of your estate. This person is responsible for properly distributing your assets when the time comes. If you do not name an executor, the state of New Jersey will appoint one for you.
As a newly married couple, creating an estate plan ensures you and your spouse are prepared for the future and are protected from unexpected legal and financial burdens.