The importance of estate planning for newlyweds

Individuals in Oklahoma who are recently married should consider estate planning an important part of their new lives. Even for couples who are young and have few assets, estate planning ensures that if anything goes wrong, their wishes will still be carried out. One of the easiest aspects of estate planning after a wedding is updating beneficiaries on insurance, retirement accounts and other types of accounts. It is also important to consider what should happen if both individuals die.

Writing or updating wills is also important. Individuals may also want to consider whether they should use a trust. A trust may be a better choice than a will for some assets because a trust does not go through probate and may be more private and more efficient. Individuals with real estate and similar assets should ensure that those assets are titled properly. Couples may want to think about what names to put on various accounts.

A durable power of attorney ensures that someone is able to make financial decisions on behalf of an individual who becomes, incapacitated while documents such as advance medical directives and paperwork to appoint a health care proxy will leave information about an individual's wishes for treatment if they are too injured or ill to communicate. Even if the spouse is not the choice for these roles, they should be discussed and put into place.

An attorney may be helpful in estate planning. Some types of documents require very specific legal language, and an attorney may also be able to advise on aspects such as when a trust may be more useful than a will. Estate planning is not just something that should be done once and then forgotten about. Couples should periodically review their plans as they have children or as other circumstances change.

Source: The Motley Fool, "Estate Planning for Newlyweds", Anna Wroblewska, December 27, 2014

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