couple just married

Just Married: Do We Need an Estate Plan?

Marriage is not only an emotional and spiritual union; it is also a legal one. This is why newlyweds need to establish a strong foundation of legal documents to back up their recent vows. To do this, they need a capable, trustworthy estate planning attorney. If you have recently tied the knot in Southeastern Massachusetts, Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. is the right place to call. We will provide the skill set you need and the dedicated client services you deserve.

Foundational Documents for Marital Estate Planning

Once you’re married, you require the paperwork that defines your wishes and your personal and mutual decisions. First and foremost, you need a last will and testament to state how you want your assets distributed to your loved ones. Your will also allow you to appoint a personal representative, the individual who will see to it that your final wishes are carried out, and appoint a guardian for any minor children if both you and your spouse become unable to care for them. 

Notably, dying without a will (intestate) invalidates your wishes and gives the state of Massachusetts the ability to distribute your assets according to state laws of intestate succession.

Other Crucial Documents for Newlyweds

While there is no doubt that weddings are joyful occasions, marriage is an adult enterprise that involves taking responsibility. Part of taking responsibility is making sure that you and your spouse protect yourselves and one another by having the following documents at hand in case of unexpected events:

  • Durable Power of Attorney to name a trusted individual (typically your spouse) to manage your financial and legal affairs if you become incapacitated.
  • Health Care Proxy to designate your spouse to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated by illness, injury, or a medical event.
  • HIPAA Release Form to give your healthcare providers the authority to speak freely with your spouse and any other family members you name about your medical condition, prognosis, and treatment.
  • Living Will to notify your spouse and doctors of which end-of-life treatments you want to receive or have withheld (e.g. intubation, feeding tube, DNR).

A significant part of preparing documents for your newly established family is updating beneficiary designations on your insurance policies and retirement plans and making bank accounts that are not joint accounts Payable on Death (POD) to your spouse. Though sudden deaths of young people are relatively rare, they do occur; preparing for such an eventuality is another way of showing love and concern for your new spouse.

Trusts to Protect What Is Most Precious

For newlyweds, trusts can be a valuable tool. A Revocable Living Trust, for instance, permits you to manage and protect your assets during your lifetime while ensuring a seamless transfer to your beneficiaries upon your passing. This can be especially useful if you have significant assets or if you want to provide for specific individuals, such as children from a previous marriage.

Planning for Disaster Is Realistic and Necessary for New Families

Like buying insurance, taking the steps listed above makes you and your new spouse more resilient in the face of troubling or catastrophic occurrences. Not planning for potential calamities can leave one or both of you endangered and/or powerless when you most need support.

Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys Now

Life is unpredictable, so as you begin married life you will want to make your loved ones as secure as possible. The best way to do this is to meet with one of our knowledgeable estate planning lawyers as soon as possible. Contact us today.