For newlyweds in the Colorado Springs or Centennial, Colorado area, setting aside some time to address important estate planning concerns is something you will want to do as soon as possible. In all the excitement leading up to the wedding, the planning involved, and the time you spend acclimating to your new life together, it can be easy to forget that there are significant legal consequences, as well as benefits, to entering into a marital relationship. Many of these legal issues arise in the context of estate planning. Understanding what you, as individuals and as a couple, should do to protect your interests is essential now that you are married.
Estate Plans for Newlyweds: Incapacity Planning
One of the important legal consequences of entering into marriage is the ability to begin making choices on your partner’s behalf should he or she become incapacitated. For example, if your spouse is involved in a car crash tomorrow and has to be hospitalized, the doctors might approach you to ask you to approve medical care or treatment. As a spouse, you have the legal right to do this.
But you also have the right to make your own choices. If you want to appoint someone else as your legal representative when it comes to making medical decisions, you can do so by crafting an advance medical directive. Additionally, if you want to make your specific wishes known to your health care providers but still allow someone else to make decisions for you, you can detail your choices when you make your directive.
Beyond medical choices, an incapacity plan will also allow you to appoint someone else will be able to manage your finances on your behalf. By crafting a durable financial power of attorney you can give your spouse, or someone else, the ability to look over your property when you are no longer able to do so yourself.
Estate Plans for Newlyweds: Inheritance Planning
As soon as you become married you earn the right to inherit a portion of your spouse’s estate upon his or her death. While you can choose to refuse to accept this inheritance, spouses automatically earn these inheritance rights upon entering into marriage.
If you have been recently married, creating an inheritance plan that recognizes this automatic inheritance right is absolutely essential. This is especially true if, for example, you already created inheritance planning tools prior to getting married.
Furthermore, if you have any transfer on death assets, you will need to review these to make sure that they still name your chosen beneficiary. If you want to name your spouse as your transfer on death beneficiary, you might need to go back and change the beneficiary designations.
For more questions about estate planning for newlyweds in Colorado or to receive a free initial consultation, contact our office today! If you come in for your appointment before December 19th you will receive $300 off your estate plan!