Estate Planning for Newlyweds
After the walk down the aisle, the night dancing with your new family, and the week on the beach wrapped in each others arms the last thing on your mind is probably the future of your money. Weddings are expensive adventures, and at this point your pocketbook can be telling you things you don’t want to hear. It is time to get back on track and start planning for your financial health and security together (if you haven’t already). So where do you start?
Sit down together and create a concise list of all of your incomes, all of your bills, and all of your debts. Talk about any big future purchases you will be considering: Is your car on its last leg, will you two be buying a house, has your husband always dreamed of having a boat? Decide where these purchases fit in with the rest of your finances and consider creating a calendar of when you may be able to afford these things. Focus on getting your debts out of the way and make sure that you are both working towards maintaining a solid emergency fund. If you are expecting to expect consider ways to start saving for that new adventure. If this all seems like a lot, it is; but now you have a partner to help you through and you are creating a clear dialog about the hard topic of money. Talk to a financial planner sooner rather than later and have them help you work out where you both stand. They can help you set financial goals and come up with investment solutions that will work for both of you.
You should also strongly consider finding an estate planning attorney to setup a will and trust. Especially if you have minor children, but even if you don't -- you'll want to iron out details about your assets, who gets them if someone passes away, and more. One of the biggest issues you should talk about with your attorney is health care. Talk about a health care directive and what should happen if one of you is incompacitated or suffers a traumatic injury. It never hurts to be too prepared.
Once you talk to an estate planning attorney you are starting to work towards your goals in a very real way. For those of us who are marrying a little later in life, having a clearly set out estate plan is one of the kindest things you can do when you are pulling together two families.