The First 3 Estate Planning Documents You Need After Getting Married

/ / Law Blog
Estate planning lawyer

When you get married, your life changes. You become one with another person and make a commitment to each other that can last until the end of your lives. Ideally, this is something that you’ll probably never experience again in your life. 

Sure, the first few years of marriage might be hard and may even feel like the honeymoon phase has faded, but it’s still important to remember the joys of being newlyweds. One of those joys is planning for the future together.

In doing so, it’s important to think about estate planning documents. These documents can safeguard your assets in case something happens to you or your spouse while ensuring that you are making smart financial decisions when planning for the future.

If you have any questions about these documents or need expert assistance with your estate planning, we invite you to give us a call. At Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law, we are committed to helping Florida residents protect what’s theirs to ensure a stable and bright future. In the meantime, let’s discuss the first 3 estate planning documents you need after getting married.

A Will

You can designate who will receive your assets after your death by establishing a last will and testament. You may want your spouse to have most of your assets, especially if you’re newlyweds. If so, you can name them as the primary beneficiary. Please note that your spouse will likely inherit all your assets if you die without a will in place. This is known as intestate. However, state law and whether you have children can affect this. 

If you don’t have a will or you’ve not yet updated your existing one, your assets might not be divided according to your wishes. It’s always a good idea for you to make a will when you get married. To ensure your will is properly created and executed, it’s important to work with trusted legal counsel. At Crary Buchanan, we will provide you with an experienced estate planning lawyer who will walk you through the necessary steps to ensure a proper, secure will.

If you plan to leave assets to your spouse or if your spouse is not included in your will for any reason, make sure to review the laws regarding marital property. In certain states, the surviving spouse can receive a percentage of your assets, regardless of what is in your will. For more information on Florida’s marital property laws, please feel free to give us a call.

A will is an integral part of almost every estate plan. However, as you will see, a will alone will not guarantee your spouse or other loved ones are protected from conflict and potential court.

A Trust

An estate plan that only includes a will is almost guaranteed to leave your spouse and your family vulnerable to court appearances if you become incapacitated or you pass away.

A revocable trust can be used to avoid conflict, time, and cost associated with an estate plan that only includes a will. Your assets would be transferred to your spouse if they were properly titled in your living trust’s name. Best of all, this happens without any court intervention.

You can also specify the conditions you must meet to be considered incapacitated. This will allow you to retain some control over your own life in case you are unable to do so due to an injury or illness. This is different from a will which only takes effect when you die and governs your assets distribution.

Beneficiary Designation

If you wish, your spouse should be named as your primary beneficiary. You can also name at least one alternate or contingent beneficiary in the event your spouse passes away. If you have children, it is important not to name your minor children as beneficiaries of your retirement or life insurance accounts.

If a minor is named as beneficiary, assets will be divided to a court-appointed custodian who will manage the funds until the child turns 18. At that point, all benefits will be distributed to the beneficiary.

Unfortunately, updating beneficiaries is one of the single most overlooked aspects of trusts and wills. Failure to keep these documents current can result in unwanted outcomes associated with your estate plan. Don’t let this happen to you or your spouse. Contact the legal professionals at Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law today to make sure you are prepared for the future. 

Let Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law Assist You in Your Estate Planning

At Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law, we specialize in estate planning to secure the futures of our clients. Whether you need to establish a will or a trust, or you need legal counsel concerning probate matters, our attorneys will provide you with the guidance and direction you deserve.

So if you’re looking for a law firm that offers comprehensive representation for your estate planning needs, give us a call to arrange a consultation with a trusted estate planning lawyer. You can reach us directly at (772) 287-2600. If you prefer, you may also contact us via email at

The information in this blog post is for reference only and not legal advice. As such, you should not decide whether to contact a lawyer based on the information in this blog post. Moreover, there is no lawyer-client relationship resulting from this blog post, nor should any such relationship be implied. If you need legal counsel, please consult a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.