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Minnesota Newlyweds: Beware!

Estate planning should be a part of your wedding plans

I do. You’re on top of the world: Your wedding plans have worked out flawlessly; all the guests came, and they all had the time of their lives. Now, you and your best friend are beginning your lives together. It may be the first time that you consider an estate plan.

Power of Attorneys

Any married couple should have a power of attorney in place. This document, signed by both parties, can be incredibly useful, as it allows both spouses the power to sign documents and enter into contracts on one another’s’ behalf. This can be quite helpful when it comes to banking transactions, credit cards and DMV visits, and other instances where both spouses are not available.

Medical or Health Directives

If the unspeakable happens, and one partner is incapacitated in an unfortunate accident, a couple needs to know how to fulfill one another’s wishes. Not only does this mean end-of-life planning but also the ways in which they would like to be taken care of in the hospital. Often, spouses are left with the terrifying choices no partner would want the other to go through. This document solves this potential problem efficiently, allowing each individual to choose what they would want before they are unable to do so.

Intestate Succession

Young couples often don’t think of the possibility that they could both be incapacitated. If both spouses are somehow killed, however, assets will be split evenly and given to family members as determined by the government. Often, these assets will be given to kids, even if they’re from a previous relationship; or, to the parents of either spouse. Without a will in place, directing the courts where to put assets, the government will decide where they go—no matter the potential wishes of the couple.

Trusts or Family LLCs

Often a new couple will acquire new assets: a home, cars, a 401k or other retirement plan. They may also inherit real estate from their parents. These things can be vulnerable to creditors if they aren’t protected with a legal vehicle. If one spouse gets into financial trouble, creditors can take property from the other spouse in order to fulfill obligations. If a spouse inherits a property from their parents that they share with their siblings, there must be an agreement on how to manage that property, or the property itself could be in jeopardy of being taken by the government if property taxes aren’t paid. A trust or family LLC will protect assets from creditors, and will ensure that any property is protected properly. 

At the beginning of a marriage, you may feel invincible. But, unless you have an estate plan in place, you are not. With adequate planning, couples can, at least, be prepared for the unthinkable. While it may seem like a great expense on the front end, it’s something that you can’t afford not to do. Be certain to contact a reputable and experienced attorney in Minneapolis or St. Paul to ensure you’re ready for everything.

For more information on this area of law, see our overviews of estate planning, wills, trusts, and probate and estate administration.

 

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