June is the unofficial month of weddings, and while there are many “to-do’s” before you say “I do,” there are a lot of things you need to remember as soon as the marriage begins.
But, before we get into the post-nuptial task list, let’s take care of some pre-wedding work: a premarital agreement. A premarital agreement is a contract entered into by a couple who plan to marry and determines the rights regarding property, assets and support should the marriage end in death or divorce. Many couples enter into this type of agreement to supersede any marital laws that would otherwise apply such as division of property, retirement benefits, savings, etc. When done correctly, premarital agreements benefit both people and should provide peace of mind as you head down the aisle. Keep in mind that spouses can amend this agreement at any time after they are married.
And, speaking of “after they are married”…here are a few of the documents and accounts you need to update when the wedding is over:
Yes, technically, you need to have this completed before your ceremony, but keep in mind that most government agencies and financial companies only recognize married couples after presenting a certified copy of your marriage license. After the wedding, when you submit your signed certificate to the county office, consider asking for multiple copies, so you always have one on hand to use when you need it.
If you have decided to change your name, you will need to get a new Social Security card. You can either apply for a new card by mail or in person at your local Social Security office. Click here to find your nearest location. If you do apply in person, you can save yourself some time by filling out the application in advance and make sure you bring the proper documents, including proof of name change (your marriage license), proof of identity (driver’s license/passport), and current Social Security card. Once you have this new card in place, head over to your DMV and get a new driver’s license (you’ll need that marriage license again as well as your new Social Security card, just in case).
Credit Cards and Bank Accounts
Regardless if you will be combining your financial accounts or not, you need to change your name on all of your bank accounts. Most banks require these changes to be made in person, and you may have to provide a copy of your marriage license in addition to other documentation (check with your bank before you go). If you decide to open a joint account, both parties will likely have to be present. Changing your name on your credit cards is a little easier–many have forms online you fill out and upload documents (i.e., new driver’s license).
Do not forget to update your information on your policies or combine policies as soon as possible. Marriage is considered a major life event, so you have the opportunity to change your health care coverage even if it isn’t an enrollment period. And, adding a vehicle or home to your insurance policy could give you some significant savings.
Assets that already have a named beneficiary need to be updated after you are married—especially true if this is your second marriage. This could include your 401(k), retirement account, life insurance policy, or Will. Also, consider how all of your assets should be titled. “Adding your new spouse to your home as a joint tenant with right of survivorship may seem like the right move for keeping things simple in your estate plan,” writes Rebecca Lake for SmartAsset. “But doing so means that if something happens to you, your spouse will automatically assume full ownership of the home. They could then do with it as they wish, regardless of what you might have specified in a Will or Trust.”
If they don’t already have one in place, we always suggest that newly married couples consider creating an estate plan. A basic plan includes a Will, a Financial Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Health Care Directive. Not having such documents in place could be problematic should your spouse become ill or pass away.
We love nothing more than celebrating happy milestone events with our clients–and making sure those events are adequately documented to ensure happiness indeed does continue “ever after….”
Call or email us today for a consultation: 866-566-9494 or Assistant@jlonglaw.com.