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Wedding bells soon to ring? Don’t forget estate planning talks

When an Illinois couple makes plans to marry, there may not seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done before the big event. Where will the wedding take place? Who will be invited? How much money will they spend and where will they live after they are married? In addition to these topics, couples who want to start married life off on the right foot should include discussions about estate planning in their pre-wedding preparations.

Especially if one or both have been married before, it is critical that any existing estate plan be updated to designate the new spouse as a beneficiary. If there are children from a previous marriage, it is critical to decide how they will be incorporated into a new plan. Execution of a last will and testament is a basic part of the estate planning process; it’s good to take care of this before marrying to avoid possible family disputes down the line.

Life insurance policies, advance medical directives and powers of attorney are other important issues that those planning to marry may want to take care of ahead of time. If someone other than a spouse is listed as a designated authority in case of a person’s incapacitation, then decisions about finances or life-saving measures will likely fall to designated party, not the spouse. This can cause a lot of chaos and stress for family members.

Younger couples sometimes avoid talking about estate planning for fear that it might be considered unromantic. However, many others understand that it is better to lay it all out on the table before walking down the aisle. A couple does not have to handle an estate plan alone either; an experienced planning and administration attorney can be a great source of guidance and support.