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Marriage may require new estate planning

Pennsylvania residents who are contemplating marriage in the near future know that planning is essential and helps to make the experience seamless. While that is true for a wedding, it is also true for financial planning after the ceremony is over. There are issues that require attention to enable future security for the couple and their family.

A new will is a good place to start. Decisions are based on whether children are involved, either from previous marriages or from the current union. If one spouse dies, it is necessary to determine whether the other spouse will inherit the entire estate and be responsible for determining how assets will be divided upon his or her death. Otherwise, the couple may decide on other forms of disbursement to care for children or other family members upon the death of a single spouse. In the event that the spouses die simultaneously, the distribution of their estate may be decided with a set amount going to each beneficiary. The couple may also choose to set up a trust, avoiding probate and saving taxes for beneficiaries.

The couple may wish to change previously designated beneficiaries on accounts that may include retirement, medical savings and bank accounts. In addition, this includes beneficiaries on insurance policies.

It may be necessary to change the listed agent on previously established powers of attorney. In some cases, the listed agent may be a previous spouse or other family member. This person is able to speak for a spouse if that individual becomes incapacitated. Changing this enables the current spouse to act on one's behalf if necessary.

Obtaining legal advice when deciding on estate planning may help the couple ensure the plan is complete. An attorney may provide insight into state requirements and new laws that are necessary considerations.

Source: The Motley Fool, "Estate Planning for Newlyweds", Anna Wroblewska, December 27, 2014

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