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Lombard estate planning attorneyAlthough we generally consider marriage to be primarily a romantic relationship, when two people join their lives together, it is also a financial union. Many studies show that disagreements about finances are the top predictor of divorce. One of the best ways that engaged couples can avoid this pitfall is to be upfront, honest, and proactive about financial plans and concerns from the very beginning. If you are a newlywed or plan to “take the plunge” this summer, it is important to consider the estate planning steps you should take to safeguard your family’s financial future.

Create Your Last Will and Testament or Update Your Existing Will

In past blog posts, we have discussed some of the most ubiquitous misunderstandings about wills. Perhaps the greatest myth regarding wills is that they are only needed after a certain age. The reality is that an adult of any age will benefit from creating a will.

Although it is unpleasant to think about, unexpected tragedies happen every day. By creating a will now, you are safeguarding your ability to make decisions about what happens to your debt and property after you pass away. Furthermore, creating a will helps you identify and explore your current financial situation. This can help you and your soon-to-be-spouse better discuss financial concerns and plans for the future. If you already have a will, you will need to update it after getting married. An experienced estate planning attorney can be a valuable resource when drafting or updating a will.

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Lombard estate planning attorneysPeople can get uncomfortable when discussing the role finances play in how successful or fulfilling a marriage will be. However, the simple fact is that money is consistently found to be the number one cause of stress in marriages. Studies have even shown that couples arguing over finances is the top predictor of divorce. Marriage is a financial partnership as much as it is a romantic partnership. If you are tying the knot this summer or have recently wed, read on to learn the steps newlyweds should take to protect their financial future.

Update Beneficiary Designations

Getting married can be quite the challenging and chaotic undertaking. Between choosing the venue, inviting guests, hosting the reception, and finding places for all those wedding gifts, some newlywed couples forget that there are certain financial steps they should take as well. Many unmarried individuals have their parents chosen as beneficiaries on things like life insurance policies and retirement accounts. When those individuals get married, they will need to change the beneficiary to their new spouse—presuming they wish to do so, of course. If the beneficiary designation is not modified and a tragic accident occurs, the surviving spouse will not receive any of that life insurance policy's payout. After getting married, each spouse should review financial accounts such as 401ks, brokerage accounts, IRAs, and bank accounts and update beneficiary designations as needed.

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