Why It Matters:
Once your client’s wedding is over, will they be ready to join together in financial matrimony?
Help them get their happily-ever-after off to a good start with some organized (and easy) financial strategies.
Talk through the importance of these documents with your clients and discover tips to guide them through.
When clients get married, it’s important that they think about their finances as a team. After all, sharing a life with someone includes sharing expenses. Help them set off into the sunset together with these easy tips to get their money, important documents and basic estate planning in tip-top shape.
A good place to start is by talking through beneficiaries.
To have and to hold
Your newlywed clients should consider updating the following accounts to designate each other as a new beneficiary as well as selecting a secondary beneficiary should anything happen to them both at the same time:
- Existing checking/savings account
- Life insurance: Employer-based and stand-alone policy if they already have one
- Investments: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.
- Retirement accounts: 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, 403(b)
- Military benefits
- Pension: SEP/SARSEP
- Property, titles, and assets that might currently name someone else as the beneficiary (Example: They previously named a sibling to receive a benefit that their spouse should now be getting.)
If either of the newlyweds has a transfer-on-death policy, they should consider updating the above to reflect their new spouse as well.
Next, consider how clients can save money and keep their shared expenses tidy by combining similar current accounts.
Two accounts become one
Here are some accounts clients might consider creating or consolidating:
- Open joint banking account/credit cards: Create an account for housing expenses, travel funds, emergencies, and whatever is financially important to them.
- Merge health insurance plans: Marriage qualifies as a special enrollment period.
- Bundle car/renter/ homeowner insurance policies: Family (sometimes called a bundle or an umbrella) plans can save money.
- Switching to a family mobile phone plan: If available, clients might be able to take advantage of a better rate through a family mobile phone plan.
- Re-title property ownership documents: Even if a client solely owns their car, or anything else that is titled (including a home), they can consider adding their spouse to the ownership documentation. These types of assets usually pass to the spouse, but it’s not guaranteed unless it’s in writing.
- Consolidate duplicate accounts/services: Clients can save additional money by combining subscription services like Netflix or Prime as well as membership accounts, like Costco.
As you may know, shared documentation is also important. From preparing a will to posthumously paying for expenses (like a mortgage), here are a few more things for clients to consider.
A will or estate plan built for two
Now is a good time to start the estate planning conversation with your client.
If a client currently has a will, they should update it to include the spouse. To cover all of their bases, have them consider meeting with an estate attorney to make sure everything’s done right. As you may know, most attorneys can also safely store the official, signed copy of the will as well.
Suggested reading for clients: All You Need To Know About Creating A Will
For better or for worse
The power of attorney (POA) has power over everything involving legal and financial matters. This may be a frightening concept for your clients to process. But it’s never too early to start thinking about this topic. Keep this quick guide to powers of attorney handy to and consider checking in on their preferences at yearly checkups.
Suggested reading for clients: All You Need To Know About Naming A POA
Till death do us part
They might already have life insurance through a job, but is it enough to support their new family if something happens? Consider talking to your client about getting a stand-alone term or whole life policy. If they already have a stand-alone policy, suggest updating the beneficiary information.
In sickness and in health
Does your client know how easy and painless it is to create an advance directive? Consider walking them through setting up a living will and naming a health care proxy. You or your client can find your state’s advance directive form, fill it out, sign it, and then keep it somewhere easy for a spouse to access.
I now pronounce you…
We accumulate a lot of identification and official documentation throughout our lives. Now’s the time for newlyweds to get it all sorted and organized. This is especially helpful when buying a house, getting new insurance, and any other task that requires full identification disclosure. Here’s a rundown of what that includes:
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Armed forces ID / discharge papers
- Citizenship documentation
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- Divorce decree (from previous marriages, of course)
- Documents related to any children from before the marriage (example: adoption or legal guardianship papers)
Merging digital lives
In the event of an emergency or incapacitation, it’ll prove helpful for your clients to have access to their spouse’s passcodes and passwords.
- Mobile phone
- Home security system
And while we’re on the topic of passwords, there may also be a list of digital accounts and online services to consider. Here’s a quick list:
- Password manager: If your clients uses a password manager, their master password is the most important one to share.
- Home utilities: Power, cable, phone, etc.
- Health/medical: Insurance provider (including supplemental insurance), prescription services,
- Financial/money management: Anything set up for automatic payments, budgeting tools, credit cards, mortgage
- Entertainment: Video/streaming services, music, gaming
- Food/shopping/delivery services
- Cloud storage: Photos, media
- Travel/ticketing/rewards: Frequent flyer miles, reward points
It may not seem like an activity most clients want to do fresh off a honeymoon, but if they take the time now to organize their important information, they’ll be able to move forward into a more certain future. And speaking of the future, be sure to recommend updating all of their documentation as their life together grows.
Things to Consider:
Take the time now to help clients organize and prepare for a future together.
Talk about ways to save money by consolidating accounts and taking advantage of family deals.
Encourage clients to update existing legal documents and beneficiaries.
This article is provided by Everplans — a life and legacy planning company dedicated to transforming the way people get their families organized. For more information, visit: everplans.com
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax, investment, or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.