Many people avoid estate planning because they feel it is either not for them—perhaps only for the wealthy—or because it seems too morbid a task to undertake early in life. Yet estate planning is not just for the rich, and it is never too early to begin planning for the future. In fact, many experts think that estate planning should begin before marriage, before kids. The earliest form of estate planning can be considered to be obtaining a prenup before marriage. According to the AARP Magazine, “a prenuptial agreement… is a legal contract, between you and your spouse-to-be, setting forth what will happen to the money when you die or divorce.” Having one, even at the beginning of a healthy, young marriage, can save headache not only for you and your spouse but for your children as well when it comes to estate planning.
While for some, a prenuptial agreement feels as though it is plan enough, it’s only the very beginning of an estate plan, and sometimes people overlook important aspects of estate planning because they feel protected by agreements such as this. According to the New York Times, the top oversights that should be double-checked in estate planning—likely with the help of a qualified estate planning attorney—include, but are not limited to:
- The designation of wrong beneficiaries. People commonly forget to update documents years after they were originally filled out. Things like new spouses, new children, and new bank accounts must be current on all documents in order to avoid confusion.
- Liquidity deficit. Estate taxes are due nine months after death. Your heirs will need enough liquid cash to pay them.
- Deciding on an executor. Your spouse may be the love of your life, but that spouse may not be the best with money.
Prenuptial agreements are just the beginning to estate planning, a long process that is best undertaken with the assistance of a dedicated estate planning attorney. Contact our offices today.