Why in the World Would Newlyweds Need Estate Planning?
Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on April 7, 2021
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When you’re in the process of preparing for marriage, just about everyone has some token of advice. Some will insist that you absolutely need a prenuptial agreement. While that may be the case, you should also consider seeking legal counsel for another reason. It’s never too early for newlyweds to think about their estate planning needs. But why in the world would newlyweds need estate planning?
Second Marriages and Newlywed Estate Planning
Take the case of Samantha and Ryan. For both parties, it’s their second chance at marital bliss. Although their prior marriages only lasted a few years, Samantha has a son with her first husband. Ryan has no biological children but is extremely close to his sister’s children.
No one likes to plan for the unexpected. That said, accidents do happen. What if Samantha and Ryan are killed in a head-on collision? Without a will, who will become the beneficiaries of their respective estates? As next of kin, there’s a chance that Samantha’s daughter will receive something from the proceeds. Ryan may have wanted to leave something to his nieces and nephews.
The bottom line is that if you die without a will, the division of your estate is determined by the laws of intestate succession. This means that the law chooses the order of relatives who become beneficiaries.
And when it comes to blended families and second marriages, there are unique challenges of estate planning that you need to consider. Remember, if there are children from previous marriages like in Samatha and Ryan’s case, there will be the question of the child’s right to the estate of their biological parent, what happens if the new spouse adopts the child–all of these factors come into play and depending on the external familial circumstances, it can become complicated quickly.
Estate Planning Soon After Marriage
It goes without saying that people enter marriage at different times during their life. To the young couple directly out of high school or college, estate planning might seem impractical. After all, they might be more worried about paying the rent than getting together a Last Will and Testament.
However, there’s more to estate planning than dividing limited bank accounts. What if something happens that you need to take care of your spouse’s affairs in any respect? Estate planning is not just about financial matters. You also want to make sure the right person is in charge if you are unable to make medical decisions.
More than likely, you’ve heard about the importance of a power of attorney. When you execute a power of attorney, you are essentially giving someone else permission to act in your place. It could be that you want to give your spouse access to limited money transactions. Or, again – to take over for critical medical directives. When you meet with an attorney, you can go over the details and craft a document that suits you best.
There’s also the issue of an advance medical directive. Here, you are stating your preferences when it comes to healthcare if you are too sick to articulate your wishes. You may also elect to execute a Living Will regarding life-saving measures. Often, people update these documents during different phases of their lives.