So, you've finally found that special someone that you know you want to spend the rest of your life with. This is generally a time of your life filled with optimism, when looking to the future seems like a joyful thing.
Many couples don't want to look too far ahead, instead prioritizing the next three to five years. However, with so much about to change in your lives, right now is the ideal time to sit down and have the harder discussions about your future, including what will happen if one or both of you pass away unexpectedly. While it may not be the most romantic thing, it can help ensure that you and your future spouse are on the same page about certain things.
Estate planning isn't just for the old and ill
Far too many young professionals put off estate planning and the creation of their wills until they reach a certain point in life, often their forties or fifties. However, there are no real benefits to waiting, other than the uncomfortable avoidance of something necessary for the financial security of your forming family.
Creating an estate plan as soon as you know you're going to get married not only facilitates important conversations with you and your intended about financial planning and your future, it also ensures that you both know what the other prefers for their funeral and memorial service in the event of an accident or sudden medical issue.
The best protections are in writing
While there are laws in place to ensure that spouses have certain rights when the other passes away, there is always the possibility of a contested estate, resulting in the drawn out process that is probate court following the death of a family member.
The best way to ensure there is no fighting or legal issues surrounding your estate is to make sure that your wishes are very clear as to the division of any non-marital assets, as well as your interest in the marital estate, including your primary residence. By putting your wishes in writing, you are ensuring that those you love will know exactly how to follow your last wishes and appropriately divide your assets.
Estate plans and wills can be updated
Many couples think that they should wait until the birth of any children they may be planning to create an estate plan or a will. However, the task can then easily be pushed aside with all that is required of new parents. By getting married, you are already taking steps to clarify the legal rights of your partner and protect your assets.
Putting your last will and estate plan into writing only serve to further that effort to protect the one you love the most. Working with an experienced estate attorney can give you peace of mind, before entering into your marriage, that you can provide for your spouse, no matter what.