There are various estate planning strategies that are appropriate for a person in their 30s who is recently married. The most basic of estate planning strategies is to have you and your spouse execute a Last Will and Testament. These are fundamentally the most important estate planning documents that one can have because they set forth how you want your most important assets to be distributed when you die. You also control who you want to have appointed as your nominated executor, or in the case of a beneficiary who is a minor, the nominated trustee for such dispositions. Be mindful that if you do no draft a last will and testament, your assets will be distributed by statute according to the laws of intestacy (next of kin).
Just as important, if you and your spouse plan to have children, your Will can set forth the persons who you wish to have appointed as the guardians of both the person and property of your child. This would be appropriate in the event that both parents were deceased and someone needed to have custody of the minor children. If these provisions are not set forth, a Guardianship proceeding would have to be commenced in state Supreme Court which can be very time consuming and costly.
Although most couples in their 20s and 30s may not consider this important, when you begin to accumulate wealth, there may come a point where if you don’t have the proper estate planning tools in place, you could be exposing yourself to possible estate tax consequences. More sophisticated planning in the form of irrevocable trusts can be created so assets are placed in this entity and outside of your taxable estate.
Finally, any basic estate planning structure would have the creation of durable powers of attorney in the event that the principal (person giving the powers) becomes incapacitated or is unable to render financial decisions on their behalf. In addition, a separate living will and health care proxy should be drafted so that the person who is designated as your proxy will be able to render medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unconscious, comatose, or otherwise unable to make these important decisions independently. Such a document will also specifically set forth the course of medical treatment you desire and whether you would (or would not) consent to the issuance of a DNR Order (Do Not Resuscitate) or being kept alive by artificial nutrition or hydration.
Should you wish to discuss various forms of estate planning, please contact an experienced estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Michael W. Alpert by calling (631) 225-4603 or contact us online today.