For newly married couples in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, one of the more important issues you and your new spouse need to talk about is the creation of a comprehensive estate plan. In the process of planning for the wedding, going through the ceremony, perhaps going on a honeymoon, and then adjusting to your new life together, a lot of newly married couples can forget about the legal implications of marriage. Many of these implications affect estate planning issues. So, if you are a newly married couple, or are considering getting married, here are several estate planning concerns you and your spouse should discuss.
Medical Wishes and Newly Married Couples
Even though it’s very unlikely to happen to you, it’s possible that you or your spouse might one day become incapacitated and require someone else to make medical decisions for you. Should this happen, do you know who that person will be?
Well, now that you are married, the answer to this question is usually your spouse. Spouses typically have the legal authority to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated spouse, or on behalf of a spouse who is unable to make or communicate his or her own wishes.
However, you may not want your spouse to have this ability, or may want to protect yourself in the event that both of you become incapacitated at the same time. To do this you will need to create an advance medical directive that names a representative who will have the ability to make choices for you. You can name whoever you like, but you must make sure that your advance directive complies with all relevant state law.
Financial Protection for Newly Married Couples
Financial planning is a necessary step for any newly married couple, but there is one aspect of financial planning that a lot of people overlook. Again, the issue surrounds what would happen to you and your financial concerns should you become incapacitated. Will your spouse be able to manage your assets for you? Will he or she even know how to access those assets, or be able to communicate with the appropriate representatives in order to ensure your assets are protected?
By creating an incapacity plan that includes a durable financial power of attorney, you can appoint someone who will have the legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
Inheritance Plans for Newly Married Couples
As soon as you get married, both you and your spouse earn the automatic right to inherit from one another upon the other person’s death. In order to create a comprehensive inheritance plan you will have to take this inheritance right into account. If you’ve already created an inheritance plan and need to change it, or have yet to create a plan, you should contact us to discuss the kind of options you have when creating a plan of your own.