Marriage is a wonderful thing, and your wedding day should be all about celebrating the romance and joined lives of you and your spouse! But marriage is also an event that has profound legal and financial implications for both you and your spouse as you move forward together.
From your wedding day on, state and federal law will no longer see you as an individual for many purposes, but rather as a joint entity. It will be important to take steps not only to provide for your spouse and other family members during your life and beyond, but also to take appropriate steps that protect your assets under the law.
Here are three general issues you will want to work through with your estate planning professional in the days leading up to and/or following your California wedding.
Providing For Your New Spouse
You will naturally want to provide for your spouse should you pass on or become incapacitated, and an estate planning professional can work with you to create a number of estate planning instruments which achieve this purpose.
An initial step for most people is to either create or update a will already in place. If you were previously married, you may want to change the terms of your will to remove prior beneficiaries and insert new ones, namely your new spouse.
California law is different than other states in that provides more strict requirements and obligations on how certain types of marital property can be treated after the death of a spouse, and your estate planning professional can help you create and draft a will that is in line with state law. In addition, your advisor can introduce you to other estate planning options such as trusts to help you achieve your objectives.
Providing For Your Children, Your Spouse’s Children, and Future Children
In addition, you will want to take steps to provide for other family members, such as your children, the children of your spouse, or children you might have with your spouse in the future. There may be a variety of concerns here, such as providing for your own children while taking steps to limit access to your property by a spouse’s children, in some cases.
Again, this can involve a number of estate planning instruments and strategies, including creating or updating a will, or creating a trust which provides for the needs of family members while providing oversight and management of your assets to ensure they are distributed and employed in ways that honor your goals.
Protecting Your Pre-Marital Assets
An estate planning professional can also take steps to protect your pre-marital assets and/or to protect future assets, which may be done in conjunction with the creation of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. For example, some individuals preparing to get married will create special trusts to to house pre-marital property to prevent it from being commingled with marital or “community” property, which can be extremely significant in the case of death or dissolution of the marriage.
Speak to your estate planning professional for guidance on your particular circumstances.
Update Your Estate Planning With a Pasadena Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning and probate attorney Christopher B. Johnson, located in Pasadena, California, has years of experience in all aspects of estate planning, and works with clients from all walks of life to create estate planning tools that reflect their needs and those of their beneficiaries. To request an immediate consultation, contact him today at (877) 755-9178.