Estate Planning Mistakes of Newlyweds

Estate Planning

Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are not the only estate planning tools engaged couples and newlyweds in North Carolina should consider. June is traditionally the peak of wedding season and our Chapel Hill estate planning lawyers review a few mistakes that recently married and soon-to-be married couples should avoid when planning their future and their estate plan:

1. Missing or not updating beneficiary designations. For both first-time marriages and second marriages, outdated beneficiary designations may leave retirement accounts, annuities, and life insurance benefits to individuals other than your spouse. In North Carolina, and possibly other states, divorce voids provisions in a will for a former spouse, but not beneficiary designations.
2. No digital estate plan. If you become incapacitated or die, will your spouse know how to access your online bank accounts, email, media (Netflix, Flickr, etc.), and other digital accounts? Create and safely store a list of accounts, usernames and passwords. Remember to update this list as well. More financial institutions and other websites are imposing expiring passwords. Learn about the consequences of not having a digital estate plan.
3. Relying solely on a Will. Life events like marriage or divorce are critical times when a Will needs to be reviewed. However, relying exclusively on a Will to carry out an individual’s wishes can be a mistake. Beneficiary designations are followed regardless of a Will’s terms, and need to be coordinated with the overall plan. Also, a simple Will alone cannot adequately protect property for blended family and other complex situations. A comprehensive estate plan includes routine reviews of beneficiary designations, updating a Will, and the use of trusts to ensure assets are preserved and distributed to beneficiaries.
CATEGORIES: Asset Protection, beneficiaries, Estate Planning, Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements, Wills TAGS: beneficiaries, Estate Planning Attorney, newlyweds
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