Galloway and Collens, PLLC

After honeymoon, couples should start an estate plan

Typically when people marry, they merge all they have and start a new life together. Part of that merging of two lives is preparing for the future with each other. For any couple just starting out in Michigan, it may be a good idea to think about working on an estate plan together once the honeymoon is over.

After starting a new job, an employee is usually asked to fill out paperwork for life insurance and retirement accounts. A single person often names his or her parents as beneficiaries on work life insurance plans and retirement accounts. Once married, it is imperative that a newlywed change the beneficiary listed to his or her new spouse because that spouse may be left out in the cold if something unexpected happens.

Some newlyweds may wrongfully assume that once married, they can make medical decisions for their spouses. However, this is not an absolute with marriage unless there is a health care directive or power of attorney in place before an incident resulting in incapacitation occurs. Also, once these documents are drawn up, it may be beneficial to name a secondary party in case the spouse becomes incapacitated or passes first.

While most people do not want to think about creating an estate plan when they are still in a happily-ever-after state of mind, there is no better time. Marriage does come with some inherent benefits and rights, but anyone just married should be sure an estate plan is handled quickly and effectively. In Michigan, it may benefit newlyweds to learn more about the benefits of estate planning.

Source:, "5 Estate Planning Essentials for Newlyweds", Tracy Craig Top Regional, March 23, 2015

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