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Wedding bells, wills and other estate planning documents

When the gifts are all unwrapped and the honeymoon is over, a Massachusetts newlywed couple's life begins. Thinking about how that life could end may not be at the top of the couple's list, but many would argue that it should be. It is important that they execute wills and other estate planning documents in order to provide each other with the peace of mind that if something happens, a plan is in place.

Without a will, the state of Massachusetts will determine who receives an individual's assets upon death. No one should assume that it will be the person or persons intended. Therefore, a will is often considered the core of every estate plan. After this document is created, the unique circumstances of each individual dictate what other documents may be needed in order to ensure that the assets are distributed in the manner desired. If the parties executed a prenuptial agreement, it should also be integrated into the estate plans of each spouse.

Some assets are not controlled by a person's will, such as retirement accounts and insurance policies. In fact, even if they are bequeathed to a particular individual in a will, the beneficiary designation will overrule it. A good time to review these forms and make any necessary changes to them is when one is getting married.

When a Massachusetts couple gets married, they vow to take care of each other for the rest of their lives. Executing wills, trusts and other estate planning documents at the beginning of a marriage helps fulfill those promises. As they go through their lives together, their estate plans will need to be reviewed, and possibly modified, to be sure they still meet their needs and goals.

Source: investopedia.com, "How Advisors Can Help Newlyweds", Leslie Kramer, May 19, 2015

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