If you are engaged, you are probably making a wide variety of plans for your future. Many couples spend considerable time planning their wedding, but they do not plan for how to combine their financial lives. Before you say “I do,” below are several issues you should discuss with your future spouse:
- If you have always had your own accounts, you should consider each other’s spending habits and how to best organize your finances. In many cases, it makes sense to wait a while before combining your accounts, including credit cards. Many financial advisors believe it is wise for each spouse to maintain one individual credit card.
- You will need to decide how your bills will be paid. Will one spouse be in charge of paying everything? Will you split the bills?
- Should you consider a premarital agreement? If this is not a first marriage, or you have acquired significant assets prior to marriage, this is something you should definitely consider.
- Both individuals should fully disclose their debt. You want to enter your marriage being open and honest about what you owe. It is surprising how many people get married only to discover their spouse has tax debt, credit card debt or even old DUI fines or court related payments being made. You should not undertake to pay these debts for your spouse!
- If only one spouse has a job, you should discuss how the non-breadwinner will access and have some control over the family funds.
- You should confer with a tax professional regarding whether you should file your taxes jointly or separately. This decision may make a significant difference in saving you money. It should not be done without thought, and each spouse should participate and understand the filing of tax returns. If one spouse has their own business they can create havoc on the household if they do not honestly and scrupulously report taxable income and expenses.
- Once you are married, it is critical that you create a comprehensive estate plan. Not only will you want to protect your spouse if something should happen to you, your estate plan can provide you with many protections as well. We can assist you with creating wills, trusts, a health care proxy, power of attorney and an asset protection plan.
The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.