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When to Make a Will or Living Trust: Just Married

Finding the time to create an Estate Plan can feel daunting, especially if you recently tied the knot. We explain everything you need to know in this guide!

So, you just got married? Congratulations! Getting married is an incredibly exciting time in your life that is full of love and celebrations. As you and your spouse begin to build a life and family together, you will want to begin thinking about drafting your Estate Plan. Although sitting down and creating an Estate Plan may not be the first thing on your mind after you just got married, it is important to start thinking about your financial planning goals now, as it will help to protect you and your new family if any unexpected events occur. 

Here at Trust & Will, we know how confusing estate planning can seem, especially after you are just married and trying to work out your Estate Plan together for the first time. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you understand what a Will and Living Trust is, when you should start estate planning after you get married, and more. Keep reading to learn the following:

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that allows you to choose who will be the new owners of your assets once you pass away. The assets that you may include within your Will can be anything from your house, to your car, property, financial accounts, or your jewelry. The people that you choose to leave your assets to will be known as your Beneficiaries. 

A Will is beneficial because it allows you to have control over what happens to your assets even after your death. Without a Will, it is possible that your assets may end up in the hands of someone you had not intended to pass on your assets to. Additionally, your family will also be forced to go through a more tiring and drawn out probate process, as it will take longer for the responsibility of your assets to be passed on as the court decides who should be the new owners. 

What is a Living Trust?

A Living Trust is a legal document that gives the responsibility of maintaining the assets within the document to a Trustee, who is responsible for these assets until the eventual Beneficiary claims ownership of them. You are also able to select the individual who is your Trustee for your Living Trust. Often, the Trustee will be held responsible for the assets until you pass away and then the transfer of assets to the Beneficiary will occur. A Living Trust is beneficial because it allows you to skip the probate process entirely and allows for a much easier transfer of assets.

Now that I’m married, when should I create my Estate Plan?

The answer is now! You should not wait to get a start on creating your Estate Plan; you never know how circumstances may change. It is possible that a tragic incident may occur that causes your spouse to pass away or no longer be capable of making decisions for themselves. Estate planning will help you rest easier knowing that your affairs are in order and protected no matter the circumstance. It is important to begin deciding now what estate planning documents will be most beneficial for you and your family, as Estate Plans will look different for different people.

Other Estate Planning Considerations

Now that you are married, you most likely will be viewing each of your individual assets that you brought into the marriage as joint assets now. With this in mind, you will want to sit down together and discuss your collective assets and who each of you will want to include within your Will, as it is likely that you each have individual people you will want to include within your Will. 

Another question to consider is whether or not you and your spouse will want to create Separate or Joint Wills. If you choose to create a Joint Will, it will be the sole Will for you and your spouse and it will not be able to be changed once one of you passes away. If you feel changes may need to be made once you or your spouse passes away, you may want to elect to create separate Wills instead, which is becoming a more and more popular option among married couples. 

If you are still deciding if a Living Trust is the best option for you and your family, you will want to consider whether or not it is important to you to make sure your Beneficiaries are able to skip probate court. Once you decide to create a Living Trust, you will want to think about the following questions. 

When creating a Living Trust, you will want to consider who you and your spouse are going to leave your assets to. This is going to be the most important question before you can make any other decisions after choosing that you want a Living Trust. You will also want to consider who you and your spouse want to choose to be your Trustee, as they will be responsible for the assets until your Beneficiary takes ownership. Therefore, you will want to make sure it is someone both you and your spouse feel you can trust with this responsibility. 

When it comes to estate planning with your spouse, communication is key. Having these conversations early on in your marriage will allow you both to be on the same page, prepared for whatever lies in store for the future. If you need more help on how to get started, check out the “6 Estate Planning Questions to Ask Your Spouse”. 

Creating an Estate Plan is a crucial step to take to protect you and your new spouse. Here at Trust & Will, we’re aware that this can often seem like a daunting task. However, with our online estate planning services, it no longer has to be. You can create a comprehensive, customized plan in under twenty minutes online, all from the comfort of your own home. 

What are you waiting for? Get started today or chat with a live support representative!