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Estate planning tips for New York newlyweds

When two people get married, some estate planning actions should be taken as soon as possible. For instance, it may be worthwhile to put sizable assets into a trust and to ensure that the assets in the trust are properly titled. If the assets are not properly titled, they may have to go through the probate process.

An easy action that newlyweds can take is to change the beneficiaries on 401Ks and other accounts with beneficiaries attached to them. In the event that assets inside an IRA or health savings account are to be split between parties, a notarized acknowledgement may be necessary. It may also be a good idea to add a secondary beneficiary in the event that the original beneficiary passes on. In addition to updating beneficiaries, it may be worthwhile to update any wills that may be on file.

While talking about splitting assets in the event that one person passes away may be uncomfortable, it is easier when both parties focus on those who they care about. For instance, it may be worthwhile to figure out whether assets would go to a parent or to any children that the couple has or may have in the future. Adding a durable power of attorney and a medical directive to a will may also be beneficial.

Couples who are talking about their future together may wish to form a comprehensive estate plan. This may be made easier by talking to an estate-planning attorney. An attorney can help the couple talk about different estate planning options and help create legal documents. When created correctly, documents such as a living will or a trust may stand up to any legal challenges posed to them.

Source: The Motley Fool, "Estate Planning for Newlyweds", Anna Wroblewska , December 29, 2014

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