Til Death Do Us Part: The Newlywed’s Guide to Estate Planning

Making Estate Planning Part of Your Wedding Planning

As you prepare to sign on the dotted line promising “til death do us part” to another human being, you might want to consider making a plan in the case that this unfortunate event (the “death” part) actually happens. We understand. Planning for a wedding can be stressful as you plow through your neverending to-do list. The last thing you want to think about is creating a will or pay a life insurance premium. Finding the perfect dress or tux, and tasting wedding cake is much more fun. That’s why we’re hoping to make it a bit easier for you. This guide will provide you with the most important topics to discuss with your future spouse, so you can rest easy and move on the the joys of being married.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney assigns an individual to make financial decisions for you in the case that you become incapacitated. They will help manage your assets and pay your bills, so it should be someone you both trust. Think through your mutual friends and family and come up with someone you’re comfortable assigning as your durable power of attorney in the rare case something happens to you both.

Living Will and End of Life Care

A living will enables your spouse to give you the exact type of care you want if you become terminally ill or are reaching the end of your life. The will details your wishes when it comes to resuscitation, tube feeding, mechanical breathing, and more. Even if your spouse knows your wishes, doctors are hesitant to obey any directives that are not explicitly written in a document. Having a living will doesn’t just allow you to end your life the way you wish, but also gives your spouse peace of mind that he or she was able to give you what you wanted in those final moments.

A Will for Assets

Don’t forget your traditional will, which lays out who will receive your possessions and assets if you die. If you have children or are planning on children this document is especially important, as it lists who you want to be the guardian of your kids, and gives direction for their financial future. If you don’t have a will, the state will take over your affairs. To make sure your assets and your family are taken care of exactly the way you want, create a will and update it regularly with your spouse.

Life Insurance

There are several different types of life insurance, so take some time getting to know the differences and choosing which is right for you and your spouse. Many people go for “term” life insurance, where they can designate periods when their family might be the most vulnerable, while others go for “whole” insurance, which covers your entire life. How big of a policy you take out depends on your situation. Does one of you make more money than the other? If one spouse died, would the other be left with no income? It’s a tough conversation to determine how much your spouse’s life is worth, but one that should be had to ensure your future family’s health.

Consider a Prenup

No one likes talking about prenuptial agreements, because talking about them includes a conversation about what happens if your marriage ends. While it’s unlikely this will happen to your marriage, it’s never a bad idea to protect your financial future, especially if you and your future spouse make vastly different amounts of money or you have a family estate. If this is your second marriage and you have kids, you might want a prenuptial agreement to protect your children.

These five things can sound overwhelming, but once you’ve had the conversations and put them in place you’ll be set for a happy and safe life together, whatever that life may bring. An estate planning attorney can help make these elements of marriage easier. Set up a meeting with one of our estate planning attorneys today, so you can get back to the important things, like tasting cake and picking out the perfect song for your first dance.

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