Jun 11, 2024

How Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

Everyone loves a June wedding! When people ask a couple on the brink of their vows how their wedding planning is going, their minds turn to prewedding parties, registering and imprinting their style on their special day. Not all couples think about how ready they are to begin a life of shared decision-making and blending their finances.

Hoping for the best while planning for the worst can be daunting. Overcoming the anxiety proves worthwhile when big life changes like a spouse becoming seriously ill, a spouse passing away or a divorce cross your horizon.

While lawyers and other professionals can handle income tax filings; estate planning; house title transfers and retirement plan divisions, they cannot do the work to transfer telephone numbers; to separate joint Costco, Amazon and Apple Accounts; to change credit card access; and to deal with mail forwarding and club memberships. Anyone who experiences credit card fraud lives a slice of this pain. They also cannot turn back time to allow for estate planning or having powers of attorney to make decisions on healthcare or property issues.

So here goes, top 5 things to pay attention to when you plan to get married:

  1. Powers of Attorney & Estate Planning Including Premarital and Post-Nuptial Agreements: Powers of Attorney for Healthcare and for Property let you say who makes decisions when you cannot. Life changes should prompt you to update them. When doing estate planning or entering into a premarital or postnuptial agreement, do it with each person having their own family law attorney to tell them what these kinds of plans can do and will do to change outcomes in the event of death, illness or divorce.
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  3. Insurance, Cellular Service, Car Registrations & Accounts: Before you sign up with a joint cellular telephone service, title a car, open a financial account or establish insurance, find out how the title effects who can deal in the account and who can access information on the account. Find out whether you can transfer numbers for phones and smart watches and tablets to a new account easily. Where both spouses need to be able to receive notices and transact in an account, cost savings may not matter as much as autonomy over an account. There is no wrong answer.

 

  1. Credit Cards: Some credit cards with joint accountholders cannot be structured to drop an accountholder. This means a life change can force you to close the account and affect the use of card benefits. You are not less married if you each use your own credit card. Everyone needs to build credit in case of divorce or a spouse’s death or injury.
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  3. Consider Financial Transparency: Even if one spouse taking charge of bill payment and income tax preparation works, both spouses knowing what they have and how it works will let the other spouse step in if needed. It also helps plan for spending, makes room for discussion and avoids surprises that lead to arguments.
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  5. Decisions: Figure out how you each like to discuss and make decisions. Knowing what works for both of you can make tough decisions easier.
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Getting married lasts for a day, while being married can last a lifetime, so plan for your life like you plan your wedding. Schiller DuCanto and Fleck attorneys can help with life planning before and after the wedding, so you keep regrets to a minimum.

 

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