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Estate Planning for Couples: The Ultimate Guide for Newlyweds

Happily married couple planning for their future
Happy newlyweds

Of course, I remember when my wife and I got married. The beautiful decorations; my wife's stunning smile, and how gorgeous she looked in her wedding dress; and, our cherished friends and family, surrounding us with love. As newlyweds, you and your spouse have a lifetime of love and memories ahead of you. Hopefully, you will continue to make amazing memories like those of your wedding day. But just like your wedding day, a good plan and seeking advice from professionals will help make sure that things go smoothly when big events happen.

While it may not be the most romantic thing to think about, planning for the future is an essential part of building a life together. Estate planning may not be something that you want to dwell on, but it is an important step to take as a couple to ensure your assets are protected and your wishes are carried out in the event of incapacitation or death. Here is your ultimate guide to estate planning for newly married couples.

By following the tips below, you can create a comprehensive estate plan that provides for your loved ones and protects your assets. Remember to review and update your plan regularly, and seek professional help when necessary. Lopes Law is here to help you with all of your estate planning needs (go ahead and hit "Contact Us" when you're finished reading this post, so that we can help you take the first steps on a successful marriage together).

Understand the basics of estate planning

Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and distribution of your assets after you pass away or become incapacitated. At its core, estate planning is about protecting your loved ones and ensuring that your wishes are carried out. To start, you'll need to create a will, which is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. You may also want to consider creating a trust, which can provide additional benefits such as tax savings and asset protection.

Get professional help

Estate planning can be complex, and it's important to get professional help from an estate planning attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the legal and financial aspects of estate planning, and ensure that your plan is valid and enforceable. They can also provide guidance on strategies to minimize taxes and protect your assets.

Decide how you want your assets to be distributed

As a newlywed couple, you may have acquired assets both before and after your marriage. You will need to decide how you want your assets to be distributed in the event of your death. You may choose to leave everything to your spouse, or you may want to leave certain assets to family members or charities. It's important to have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about your wishes to ensure that you are on the same page.

Choose an executor

An executor is the person responsible for carrying out your wishes as outlined in your will. It's important to choose someone you trust and who is capable of handling the responsibility. Often, couples will choose each other as their executor, but you may also want to choose a trusted family member or friend.

Plan for incapacity

In addition to planning for your death, it's important to plan for the possibility of incapacity. This can happen as a result of an accident or illness, and it means that you are unable to make decisions for yourself. To plan for incapacity, you'll need to create a durable power of attorney, which gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf.

Consider estate taxes

Estate taxes are taxes that are levied on the value of your estate when you pass away. While not all estates are subject to estate taxes, it's important to consider the impact they may have on your estate plan. You may want to consult with an estate planning attorney to determine whether your estate is likely to be subject to estate taxes and to explore strategies to minimize the impact.