While it might be the furthest thing from the minds of many a young couple in love, it’s essential to concentrate on important future possibilities, such as financial planning after divorce and estate planning.
The latter is especially crucial, particularly for couples with children, as it can greatly influence what happens in the event of incapacity or an untimely demise. For couples who want to have control over their end-of-life wishes and how their personal assets are distributed following their death, it’s important to consider the following.
Understanding the Basics Of Estate Planning
Let’s start with some basics. As alluded to above, an estate plan is a collection of documents that detail, among other things, the wishes you’d like carried out at the end of your life and how your assets are to be divvied up following your demise.
In most cases, estate plans will include a living will (to communicate what should happen if you are incapacitated), a durable power of attorney (to hand control of your finances and business matters over to another), an end of life plan (covering your funeral, remains, etc.), and a last will and testament (dictating how your belongings should be divided after death).
Without these elements, state law (which doesn’t neatly account for your final wishes) comes into play, so it’s obvious why anyone would want to have a final plan that fully encompasses their family situation and personal desires. For married couples, however, there’s even more reason to consider estate planning essential.
Why This Is Important For Married Couples
With marriage, finances can become a bit more complicated, and, in many cases, there are children to think about as well, so estate planning becomes that much more critical. For married couples considering how to plan for their demise, several crucial factors will come into play, such as determining the ownership of various assets.
It’s important for couples to determine what among their belongings is separate property (that only the individual has ownership rights to) and marital property (which the couple owns jointly) in order to proceed with creating a plan for how said assets should be divided and avoid messy family fights following the death of a spouse.
Beyond this, though, couples will also need to take estate planning into consideration to appoint guardians for any minor children they have (in the event both parents die prematurely), create trusts for their children, and to further review certain insurance policies and retirement plans to ensure they go to the correct beneficiaries, among other details.
It’s a lot to mull over, but important to keep in mind. No matter how you go about planning your estate, however, remember to keep it simple. It’s easy to succumb to the pitfall that is overcomplication, but completely unnecessary in this case, and, in fact, counterproductive.