As newlyweds start their lives together, they know that there are many changes on the horizon. Orange County Estate Planning Lawyers know that putting a solid estate plan in place at the beginning of that journey is a great idea. The sooner a couple starts planning, the sooner they get on the same page with regards to financial and family issues.

If you are a newlywed, here is a great checklist to get yourselves started:

  • Update your beneficiary designations

Insurance policies, retirement accounts or other accounts that require naming a beneficiary need to be updated to include your spouse.  This is really important because your account will pass down to whomever is named on the policy, regardless of your new martial status. That means if you previously named a parent, friend or even an ex-spouse, they would get your inheritance and your spouse would have no recourse.  If you have a new baby, you also need to make sure that you have appropriate insurance coverage so that he or she would be prepared for life without you.

  • Consider opening joint bank accounts

In a lot of cases, newlyweds combine bank accounts and add each other to their credit card accounts. Doing so can make it much simpler to pay joint expenses. Another benefit is that your spouse will have automatic access to funds if you should become incapacitated or pass away.  Of course, some couples have concerns when combining “his, hers and ours.”  You may want to reach out to an estate planning attorney for the peace of mind knowing that you are making the best choices and laying a solid foundation for your future together.

  • Update estate planning documents

If you have a Will or Trust in place when you marry, it is important to update them immediately after the wedding. In fact, you should update your documents after any life event, such as the birth of a child. You should also add your spouse as your agent on your Healthcare Directive and Power of Attorney so that he or she can speak for you in an emergency.

  • Update official documents if your name has changed

If one of you decides to take the other’s last name as your own, you will need to update all official documents such as your driver’s license, passport, Social Security card and voter registration.  You’ll also need to update your name on bank accounts, credit cards and insurance policies.

Obviously, there is a lot more to do to get organized, but this is a great start. For many years, we have helped Orange County estate planning lawyers have helped newlyweds set up a solid foundation on which to build their families.  We’d love to help you too!  Just give us a call at (949) 260-1400 and ask set up a complimentary Family Wealth Planning Session at no charge with the mention of this article.