You need to update your estate plan after you marry. Making an estate plan is an important step that everyone needs to take at some point, but to be most helpful that plan must be updated whenever you experience major life events. Marriage and divorce are the kinds of big life changes that require taking a look at your financial and estate planning to decide where tweaks might be necessary.

Providing for Your Children and Spouse

If you don’t update your estate plan after marrying, your hard-earned assets may end up going to a former spouse who is no longer a part of your life. You don’t want to put your family in a situation where they are grieving your loss and then discover that everything meant for them is unexpectedly going to someone else. 

When remarrying, updating your estate plan may also require balancing the needs of children from multiple marriages so everyone is cared for. With the help of an attorney, you should make changes to legal documents and insurance plans so they are updated in accordance with your wishes. In particular, you may need to:

  • Change beneficiaries of life insurance policies or retirement accounts.
  • Decide who should have power of attorney and make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.
  • Determine guardianship over children if you or your spouse pass away or are unable to care for yourselves.
  • Look over advance medical directives to ensure they are still in line with your current needs.
  • Review the details of trusts and trustees for dispersing assets to family members and charities.
  • Update your will.

It’s important to talk through these issues with your new spouse, especially if they have significant assets that also need to be protected. You may also want to discuss the impact of a marriage license as well as other issues like gifting assets to family members with an attorney ahead of time. These types of family decisions can impact your ability to receive Medicaid coverage if you require a nursing home stay in the next five years.

Let Our Experienced Estate Planning Lawyers Help You Plan Ahead So Everyone Is Protected

To avoid problems if you or your spouse have sudden health changes, it is always better to plan ahead of time. Schedule a free consultation with our Wilmington estate planning attorney today so we can learn about your situation and find out if you need to make changes to your estate plan.

John J. Peck
Wilmington Elder Law, Estate Planning & Asset Protection Attorney
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