When preparing for your wedding day, you probably aren't thinking about estate planning. After tying the knot, though, you'll need to draft or update various documentation to ensure you're protected if something happens. Here's how to create or alter an estate plan to account for marriage. 

How Should Newly Married Couples Begin Estate Planning?

1. Start With Last Wills

A last will and testament is the foundation of every estate plan. Regardless of your circumstances or wishes, you should draft a will. Even if you intend for your partner to inherit everything, creating this document will streamline probate for them, making a stressful process much easier. Even if you don't want them to inherit all your assets—perhaps you have children from a prior marriage, other close family members, or want to leave something to charity—creating a valid will ensures your wishes are carried out. 

2. Designate Powers of Attorney 

estate planning

Regardless of how much you trust your future spouse, they won't be able to act on your behalf without the appropriate arrangements in place. If you were to become incapacitated, for example, your partner wouldn't be able to access assets or bank accounts solely in your name. 

To ensure you can act on each other's behalf should the need arise, use powers of attorney. These legal documents grant individuals the authority to manage money, make medical decisions, and take care of similar tasks for those who can no longer handle them on their own. 

3. Update Beneficiaries 

If you have any pension plans, life insurance policies, savings accounts, or other assets that demand designated beneficiaries, you may want to update them upon tying the knot. The designated beneficiary is the party who will inherit the assets when you pass. In particular, you'll need to make changes if you want to name your new spouse on most, if not all, of these accounts. 


If you're recently married, Randy L. Cranford Attorney at Law in Thomasville, NC, will help you create an estate plan that ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes. This seasoned estate planning lawyer has counseled clients across all of Davidson County since 1977. Visit his website to learn more about his practice areas, or call (336) 476-3115 to schedule a consultation.