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4 Legal Documents Every Newlywed Should Have
May 17, 2017
Beyond the “I do’s”
You've said your "I do's," enjoyed your honeymoon and written your thank-you notes. What's next?
Having the proper legal instruments in place will help ensure your financial future is protected. Below is a list of legal documents, what they do and the risks of not having them in place. Understanding what each provides, as well as the risks, will help you make more informed decisions.
Protect your financial future by talking with your legal, tax and financial professionals when developing your legacy strategy. It’s never too late to do it.
Legal documents to consider
|Legal Document||What It Does||
Potential Risks ofNot Following Through
|Will||Provides instructions for the transfer of your assets (anything of value) after
Does not include insurance contracts or retirement accounts, as they are disbursed based on their own beneficiary designations.If you die and have children under age 18, a guardian would be named to care for them until they're of legal age.
|No legal will:
The state where you live will decide how to distribute your estate. If there are any children, do you want the judge to decide where they live?
Your assets may or may not go to your family.
Your estate will be distributed according to your will, if deemed valid.Your spouse, children, relatives, friends or favorite organizations may be excluded, if your situation has changed since the will was created.
|Beneficiaries||Payouts from your insurance contracts and retirement accounts are based on designated beneficiaries in place when you die.||If beneficiaries are not current, funds could be distributed in a manner you did not intend.|
|Durable power of attorney (POA)||Authorizes another person or financial institution to handle all your financial
affairs if you become seriously ill or incapacitated.
Includes nonmedical transactions that could range from paying bills to investing and spending your assets.
|If property is listed in your name only, no one—not even your spouse—has legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf (even if you are incapacitated) without a durable POA.|
|Advance medical directive (living will)||Provides instructions for medical decisions if you become incapacitated.
A medical directive can reduce emotional stress for your family.
Forms vary by state.Be sure to work with your doctor and legal professional.
|Without advance medical directives, your loved ones may have to go to court and
pursue a guardianship so they have the authority to make medical decisions for you.
It can be emotionally stressful on your loved ones when no clear decision has been planned ahead of time and there is disagreement.
- Update your beneficiaries on your insurance contracts and retirement accounts. Work with the company you're insured/invested with.
- Download the free Your Will and Estate Planning Guide1 to help you gather the information you need. Then work with a legal professional to explore the best types of legal documents that work for your situation.
- POA – discuss who would serve you best in that capacity.
- Advanced directive – maintain family harmony by having this in place and ensure your wishes are carried out.
Tending to your legal needs is not a quick process – there are many thoughtful
considerations and decisions to be made. It will be well worth your time and effort
to protect your family’s financial future from the unexpected.
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Thrivent Financial and its representatives and employees cannot provide legal,
accounting, or tax advice or services. Work with your Thrivent Financial representative
and, as appropriate, your attorney and tax professional for additional information.
1 This guide is for informational purposes only. The questions contained in this guide are meant to act as an aid in formulating your wishes and expressing them to your estate planning attorney. Filling in the blanks does not act as a substitute for executing estate planning documents with the help of an estate planning attorney, who knows the requirements. Thrivent Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. Consult your team of skilled professionals, including your Thrivent Financial representative, estate planning attorney, tax advisor and trust officer, as you develop or modify your estate plan.