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Just Married: Do We Need an Estate Plan?

Congratulations on your marriage! This exciting new chapter brings many changes, and among them should be a discussion about estate planning. At OC Wills & Trusts, we often advise newlyweds to consider their estate plan as a key step in safeguarding their joint future. An estate plan is not just a legal necessity; it’s a profound expression of mutual care and preparation for all life’s eventualities.

Why Estate Planning Matters for Newlyweds

Marriage significantly alters your legal and financial landscape. An estate plan ensures that your new spouse is considered in the distribution of your assets and decision-making processes in the event of incapacitation or death. It’s about protecting each other and any future children you may have.

Starting with the Basics: Wills and Trusts

The cornerstone of your estate plan should be a will or trust. A will dictates how your assets are to be distributed, while a trust offers more control and privacy, and can help avoid the probate process. Deciding which is right for you depends on your unique circumstances.

Designating Beneficiaries

Marriage often means reevaluating your designated beneficiaries on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial instruments. Ensure that these designations are updated to reflect your new marital status and wishes.

Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives

Establishing Powers of Attorney allows you to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of your spouse if they are unable to do so. Similarly, a Health Care Directive ensures that medical decisions respect your spouse’s wishes in case they are incapacitated.

Understanding Joint Ownership

As newlyweds, understanding the implications of joint ownership of assets is crucial. Whether it’s real estate, bank accounts, or investments, how you own these assets can significantly impact your estate planning.

Guardianship Decisions

If you plan to have children, or already have them, appointing a guardian in your will is essential. This ensures that your children are cared for by someone you trust, should anything happen to both of you.

Tax Considerations

Marriage can change your tax situation. Discuss with an estate planning attorney how to structure your estate plan in a tax-efficient manner, benefiting from marital deductions and other tax advantages.

Regular Reviews and Updates

Life changes, and so should your estate plan. Regular reviews and updates are important, especially after major life events like marriage, the birth of a child, or significant financial changes.

Contact OC Wills & Trusts Attorney Today for a Consultation

An estate plan is a crucial part of starting your married life on solid ground. It offers peace of mind, knowing that you’ve taken steps to protect and provide for each other, no matter what the future holds.

If you’re a newlywed without an estate plan, now is the time to start. Contact OC Wills & Trusts Attorneys for a consultation. Our experienced team in Orange County will guide you through the process, ensuring your estate plan reflects your new life together. Secure your future as a couple; begin your estate planning journey with us today.

Brian Chew, the managing partner of OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, has extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, and veterans’ benefits. By devoting his practice to estate planning matters, he has founded a firm that strives to provide exceptional service to their clients by working closely with individuals and their families to create comprehensive and customized estate plans. For the past twenty five years, Brian has served thousands of clients in the matters of estate planning, wills and trusts. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Brian Chew here.