Since the official announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry, royal watchers and wedding enthusiasts have been discussing every aspect of Meghan Markle’s wedding planning process.  From smartphone apps that let users try on her ring to releases of sketches of possible wedding designs, it looks as if the May nuptials are one of the most anticipated weddings of 2018. One aspect of wedding preparations that is not often discussed is the estate planning to-do list every newlywed should have. Marriage is a life change that affects who has final say regarding your property and final wishes. Even though the thought of planning for an untimely separation is difficult, discussing these important details at the earliest opportunity will protect you and your spouse if something unexpected occurs.

Update Policies

Most employers and financial institutions offer low cost life insurance policies to employees or customers. Unmarried individuals often list their parents as their primary beneficiaries, or their siblings. If the beneficiary is not updated, your parents or siblings could receive your life insurance funds instead of your spouse. Also consider securing copies of all important identification documents such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, social security cards, past divorce decrees from previous marriages, and other information that either partner might need in the future.

Get Health Advance Directives and Durable Powers of Attorneys

The polarizing case of Terri Schiavo and the more recent case of veteran Terry Mace highlights how bad things could get when parents fight a spouse for the right to decide if an adult should remain on life support. Through the course of a marriage, a couple may reveal preferences to each other that their parents might be unaware of. Creating durable powers of attorney and advance medical directives gives each spouse the ability to manage financial affairs and make decisions as the healthcare proxy.

Title Assets

Getting married does not automatically ensure that your spouse will receive the property that you own if you pass away. Depending on your situation, property you leave behind may be left to children from another relationship or other owners. If you pass away without a will or have not updated any existing wills or titles, your spouse could have to fight to keep assets that you intended him or her to have. Work with an attorney to make sure that your assets are titled properly to the person you want to have them and consider changing sole ownership to joint ownership on homes, vehicles, and other assets.

Create a Trust

When you have considerable assets or funds that you would like your spouse to have without dealing with extended probate or other issues, consider creating a trust. A trust will protect your spouse if you pass away and is a good way for you and your spouse to protect each other financially in the future.

Talk to an Attorney

Estate planning is not a pleasant topic for newlyweds but it is a necessary one. Protecting your new spouse and securing his or her future is one of the most important things that a newly married person can do. The estate and trust lawyers at MMZ Law are prepared to answer your questions and give you the legal advice that you need. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Claremont, California location.




341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.