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Planning an estate along with a wedding

One of the most exciting times in a St. Paul resident's life is the stage of being a newlywed. Nothing can replicate the joy and excitement that comes from being with a newfound love. Despite this joy and excitement, however, individuals who are approaching marriage should ensure they have their affairs in order and a plan in place for their new relationship.

This may be particularly true for individuals who are approaching marriage at an older age. These individuals are more likely to have accumulated more wealth and assets over the years, and therefore there may be important steps the individual needs to take in preparing for the future. Moreover, the couple will want to be sure their estate planning goals are in line with whatever wills, trusts, life insurance policies or other documents they have executed.

For instance, the laws change the distribution of assets upon a person's death when a person is married as opposed to single. If a person has no will, there are intestacy provisions that provide property to the surviving spouse.

Those with a will have certain benefits under the law, such as a marital deduction that allows spouses to transfer their estate to a surviving spouse tax free. Individuals can protect their individual estate exemption amounts through portability. Disclaimer provisions might also be set up to allow a surviving spouse to disclaim certain assets, which would pass those assets to a trust or another person.

The bottom line is that individuals who are getting married at any age should understand that there is more planning to be done than the wedding ceremony and reception itself. The new marriage changes a person's status under the law, and the individual's estate plan should be updated accordingly to ensure the person's goals are met under the different laws.

Source: Fox Business, "Conversations boomers should have before saying 'I do'," Casey Dowd, June 19, 2014

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