Making a will is not at the top of the list for many young married couples. Many young married couples believe that creating an estate plan is out of their financial reach. No matter your age, you should have a basic plan set, and this is especially true if there are children involved.
Estate planning provides you with control over the distribution of property in case something happens to you or your spouse. For example, an estate plan will lay out who should take care of your children if something happens to you and also lets you choose the person that will act as your proxy in the event of your incapacity.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider when your are working on your estate plan:
Think about the children
We know this can be a difficult task because no parent wants to think about who will raise their child in case something happens, but it is definitely something to sit down and think about. Outlining who is to take care of the minor children will provide your child with a secure future but can also prevent various family members from fighting for custody.
Determine the ownership of your assets
You need to clarify who owns what. Wisconsin is a community property state, this means that all assets that are acquired during the marriage are owned equally. If you happen to die without and estate plan in place the state will govern your assets.
Determine your power of attorney
Many people seem to think just because you’re married that you have a legal authority to make health and financial decisions for your spouse in the case of your spouse’s incapacity. This is quite simply not true, so be sure to choose a power of attorney so that all your wishes will be met. An important thing to remember is that you do not need to pick your spouse to be your power of attorney.
Do not procrastinate
Just because you are young and a newly married couple doesn’t mean estate planning should be put on the back burner. It’s important to know that bank accounts, cars, and retirement plans are all considered assets, so just because you’re young does not mean you do not own assets. It is important to set an estate plan in place, and even more important to set one in place if you have a child/children.
Do not only look at your estate plan once
We all change as times go on, so looking once at your estate plan and being done is not a smart move. For example once you had your first child, an estate plan might have been put in place, but make sure to revisit your estate plan after your second, third child, and so on. Revise your estate plan when there are significant changes in your life.
Not hiring an attorney
It’s important to sit down with an experienced estate-planning attorney before you draft an estate plan from a pre-made form you’ve found online. A good attorney will advise you and make sure that you are not making any mistakes.
If you are looking to hire an estate-planning attorney or have any questions about creating an estate plan, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 414-259-9300. We have a team of attorney’s that specialize in estate planning in Wauwatosa, WI and surrounding Wisconsin areas including Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Racine and Kenosha Counties.