If you have an existing estate plan, and have recently married, you may be wondering how your estate plan will change now that your status as a single person has changed. Marriage does typically require an individual to re-evaluate and update an estate plan; however, how that plan changes will depend on many factors. A married couple is certainly not required to create a uniform, joint, estate plan, though many do.
The changes that you make to your existing estate plan will depend, on a large extent, to how your asset structure will change and whether you plan on having children with your new spouse. If you plan on purchasing property together, or you plan on converting existing assets to joint assets, then you really will need to discuss how those assets will be handled in your estate plans with your spouse and reach an agreement. If, on the other hand, you plan to keep separate financial accounts and do not plan to title assets jointly, then the changes you make to your plan will not be as drastic in most cases. Even so, you may wish to make your new spouse the “pay on death” beneficiary of an account or make him or her the beneficiary of life insurance which will require some changes.
If you plan to have children together, then creating a uniform estate plan is more important. Knowing how your children will be taken care of in the event of the death of one parent is crucial and requires careful estate planning. Talk to your estate planning attorney about how best to handle your new married status.