If you’ve just gotten married (or even if you’ve been married for some time!) and have not updated your will or estate plan, this article is for you! Many people shy away from estate planning or put it off, but it is incredibly important for you to create an estate plan, especially now that you’re married. You’re probably wondering where you can begin. For just a few examples, you will be making important decisions together such as:
- Who you would both like to be the guardians of your minor or special needs children.
- Who will take care of your pets,
- Who you would both like to leave inheritances to, and
- If you want jointly owned property or accounts to avoid the probate process by appointing beneficiaries
Getting your estate plan written up is crucial after you marry and can help ensure that your spouse, along with your children, are provided for financially in the event something happens to you. It will also help give you both peace of mind.
Once you marry, your legal and financial status both change in numerous ways. However, as a spouse, you may file joint taxes with your partner and share income and property. This is recognized by the government and can affect the way your assets are divided and allocated upon your passing.
For example, property solely owned by you or your partner is called separate property. This means that your spouse has zero ownership rights to yours, as you do with theirs. Property obtained before your marriage or that was inherited by only you is classified as separate property as well. Personal injury proceeds also fall into this category.
Property that you share with your spouse is called marital property. This is property jointly owned and shared by you both, such as active income being earned, property given as a wedding present, property that was bought with your joint money during your marriage, and separate property that has been mixed into your marital assets. An example of this is if you were to deposit your inheritance into a joint bank account or added your partner’s name to your property deed that you obtained before your marriage. You may want to sit down and discuss with your partner your thoughts on the division of assets and property to make sure you’re both on the same page.
Estate planning and probate laws in Texas are very complex. It’s highly recommended you meet with an experienced estate planning attorney in Arlington TX to ensure your estate plans can be shaped accordingly. Your attorney may also advise you that even if you are married, you create your own individual estate plans in the event that a divorce or separation occurs. That way, you will only have to change your named beneficiaries, take your spouse off of your joint accounts, and re-divide any assets or inheritances that you have listed them under. Meet with your lawyer and discuss your needs and situation, and they will come up with the best estate plan for you.
Brandy Austin Law, P.C. has decades of experience and top-rated lawyers to help you get started in your estate planning process. Please check out our awards or testimonials page for reference and contact us for a free consultation at 817-841-9906 or by filling out a quick contact form here.