Skip links

Estate Planning For Newlyweds

Free Consultation

(949) 237-2030

Send Us A Message

Estate Planning For Newlyweds in Newport Beach, California

Marriage is the beginning of a shared life journey. Consequently, it’s wise for newlyweds to consider establishing an estate plan soon after their nuptials. Alternatively, this planning process can commence before the marriage ceremony. An effective estate plan safeguards against future uncertainties, ensuring that financial and medical decisions can be seamlessly managed should one partner face incapacitation or pass away.

Although contemplating such scenarios is far from pleasant, the absence of a comprehensive estate plan often leads to unnecessary and costly complications during difficult times. Estate planning attorneys specialize in crafting strategies that honor your financial and healthcare preferences. For expert guidance tailored to newlyweds, reach out to Finn Legal Group at (949) 237-2030 and start the conversation about securing your future together.

Updating Beneficiaries: What You Need To Know

Many married individuals opt to name their spouse as the beneficiary on several accounts. As a community property state, California mandates that a person’s spouse must be designated as their beneficiary. This guarantees the transfer of certain accounts to the surviving spouse upon one’s death. Newlyweds must prioritize updating their beneficiaries as an initial step in estate planning. Typically, the following accounts require the designation of a spouse as the beneficiary, which newlyweds should aim to revise accordingly:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Employer-provided and individual life insurance policies
  • Investment portfolios, encompassing mutual funds, bonds, and stocks
  • Retirement savings plans, including IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, and 403(b)s
  • Benefits from military service
  • Pension plans
  • Trust funds
  • Any additional properties, titles, or assets with designated beneficiaries

Account Consolidation vs. Account Creation

For newly married couples, it’s common to either consolidate existing accounts or establish joint accounts across several key areas, including:

  • Bank accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • Health insurance, where newlyweds can take advantage of special enrollment periods
  • Car insurance, with the potential for better rates through family plans compared to individual policies
  • Mobile phone plans
  • Ownership titles for significant assets like real estate and vehicles

Drafting or Revising a Will Post-Wedding

Individuals who possess a Last Will and Testament should consider revising it post-marriage, while those without one are advised to create it. A will precisely dictate the distribution of a deceased person’s assets. Typically, married individuals designate their spouse as the main beneficiary, ensuring they inherit the bulk of their estate.

The California Legislature states that in the absence of a will, assets are allocated by the state, often favoring the surviving spouse. However, a will assures that assets are dispersed exactly as intended by the deceased. This is particularly crucial for those with children, who wish to establish clear directives for the allocation of their assets among their spouse, children, and other relatives. For further guidance on will creation and estate planning for newlyweds, consulting with our Newport Beach estate planning attorney at Finn Legal Group is recommended.

Should Newlyweds Consider Establishing a Trust?

An estate plan that comprises only a will requires the deceased’s assets to undergo a legal process known as probate before distribution to heirs. This procedure can extend over months or even years for complex estates. Wills have limited scope, merely dictating the disposition of assets upon the owner’s demise. In contrast, a trust can outline instructions for medical and financial decisions in the event of incapacitation.

Incorporating a revocable living trust alongside a will enhances an estate plan. This trust legally owns the specified assets, jointly held by spouses, facilitating a smoother transfer to the surviving spouse and other heirs by bypassing the probate process. The Attorney General of California advises consulting estate planning professionals for expert guidance in establishing a trust.

Understanding Financial & Medical Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a crucial element of any thorough estate plan. It grants a designated individual the legal authority to make financial and medical decisions on behalf of someone who becomes incapacitated and unable to make these decisions independently.

Newlyweds, in particular, should consider appointing their spouse as both their medical and financial power of attorney. This designation empowers the spouse to manage financial obligations such as bill payments, bank accounts, and investments, as well as to handle tax filings and make crucial medical decisions, ensuring continuity in the event one partner is incapacitated.

Revising an Estate Plan During the Course of a Marriage

Estate planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time task. Newlyweds should view crafting an estate plan as the beginning, not the end, of managing their future together. It’s crucial to revisit and revise the estate plan periodically throughout the marriage.

Experts in estate planning advise a review and potential update of your estate plan every three to five years. Additionally, significant life events necessitate adjustments to ensure the plan reflects your current circumstances and wishes. Key moments that may prompt an update to your estate plan include:

  • A substantial increase in the value of assets covered by the plan
  • The sale or donation of assets previously included
  • The initiation of a new business venture since the last estate plan update
  • The death of a designated beneficiary or guardian
  • A move to another state, which might have different estate planning regulations
  • The addition or removal of beneficiaries
  • Changes in the trustees or executors of estates and wills
  • The birth of a child to the couple
  • The filing for divorce by one spouse

Contact Our Newlywed Estate Planning Lawyer in Newport Beach Today

After the honeymoon, newlyweds need to start organizing their shared life. A significant aspect of this organization involves estate planning. Creating a comprehensive estate plan is vital as it ensures that one’s wishes are honored posthumously, and it facilitates the smooth transfer of assets to the family, avoiding any legal hurdles.

To navigate the complexities of estate planning effectively and tailor an estate plan that accommodates your family’s needs through different life stages, seeking guidance from a seasoned estate planning attorney is advisable. Contact Finn Legal Group at (949) 237-2030 today to arrange a consultation and take the first step towards securing your family’s future.