Marriage - Blog Series 3 of 3
This blog wraps up the three part wedding-themed series. Marriage can trigger many life-changing events. Now that the marriage license is official, and your new last name is legal, there are still other options many brides may want to consider. The Mazaheri Law Firm can save any newly-wed from drowning in the details.
We would love to provide you with our normal checklist-style approach; however, the options listed below are so legally complex that the use of an attorney is highly recommended. None of the possibilities discussed are legally required, but now that you've started the next chapter of your life, it may be time to consider these options. Allow the Mazaheri Law Firm to help you navigate some of these options:
Estate planning typically attempts to remove uncertainties over the administration of a probate and is the process of arranging for the disposal of an estate during a person's life. In plain English, estate planning is an ongoing process that involves the creation, and implementation, of a plan that will protect and grow your estate during your lifetime and facilitate the transfer of your estate to your designated beneficiaries after your death. Estate planning is the broadest option that encompasses many aspect of your present estate instead of narrowly focusing on the estate after you're deceased. Estate planning cannot successfully happen without the creation of a valid Will and/or Trust, but it is more complex than just establishing a Will or a Trust because estate planning seeks to maximize the value of your property during your lifetime. You should consider estate planning if you wish to protect your property interest and designate beneficiaries in the event of your passing.
An attorney, knowledgeable in the area of estate planning, should assist you and your spouse in establishing an estate plan. An attorney will likely guide you through the process by asking very specific questions about your current possessions and future wishes for those possessions once you've passed away. Estate planning is not reserved just for the elderly and can occur at any stage in your life.
A Will is a legal declaration where you name one (or more) persons to manage your estate, and provides for the distribution of your property once you've passed away. In other words, a Will is a legal document that addresses all the issues that typically arise after someone is deceased. While estate planning should be an ongoing process, a Will is typically signed, stored for safe keeping, and never revisited unless it needs to be revised or amended. You should consult an attorney, knowledgeable in the area of Wills, if you and your spouse want to establish beneficiaries of your property in the event of your passing. An attorney can guide you through the process and verify that your Will is legally valid and binding.
A Trust is a fiduciary agreement that allows a trustee to hold assets on behalf of an assigned beneficiary. Stated more plainly, a Trust is a legal document that reserves property for the beneficiary and establishes when that property may be dispersed. Much like a Will, a Trust is typically signed, stored for safe keeping, and never revisited unless it needs to be revised or amended. There are generally two aspects of a Trust that distinguish it from a Will: (1) property assigned to the beneficiary under a Will may only be dispersed once the property owner is deceased, while a Trust permits the dispersing of property while the owner is still alive, and (2) property assigned to the beneficiary under a Trust must be surrendered to the trustee, while a Will permits the property owner to retain the property during their lifetime.
Step-parent Adoption and Guardianship:
Your spouse may wish to adopt your children as their own. In order for a step-parent to adopt, both biological parents must give consent, unless there is a statutory exception provided by law. The other parent must be given notice of the adoption proceedings. There are other necessary steps before an adoption may proceed, and it is best to hire an attorney to guide you through this process.
You and your spouse may also want to take this time to consider a nomination of guardianship. Nomination of guardianship is a legal document where you nominate someone to be the guardian of your children in the event you and your spouse should pass away.
We hope this basic information is helpful, but should you need further assistance, please call 405-414-2222 and schedule an appointment.