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Why estate planning should be part of your wedding planning

So you're engaged to be married - congratulations! During this exciting time in life, both you and your intended will have a lot of decisions to make. With all the waffling about who to invite, where they should sit and what you should serve, it's easy to overlook far more critical decisions - such as estate planning.

Sorting out your estate may not seem like something typically done during the days leading up to your nuptials, but it should be. While perhaps not the most romantic of tasks, planning together for the future - discussing your goals, dreams and concerns - can help you build a solid foundation for a successful life together.

Preparing for all possibilities

Wedding vows typically involve committing to your spouse through sickness and health, good times and bad. No one wants to think about the end of a marriage right when it's beginning. However, planning for possibilities - such as accidents, injuries, losses or separation - can leave you both feeling more secure about the future.

No one knows what the future holds. With careful planning, however, you can protect your future spouse from the burden of making difficult decisions without your input. Outlining your wishes (and theirs) in writing is one of the best wedding gifts you can give each other.

Estate planning is all the more important if this isn't your first marriage. You may have significant assets or children from your prior marriage. You'll need to address how to handle those complex considerations before you walk down the aisle.

Revisiting your estate plan down the road

Estate planning is rarely a "one and done" deal. Your goals and needs will likely change over time. The law also frequently shifts, opening up new opportunities and foreclosing strategies that once worked.

As your family grows - or undergoes transitions such as retirement, job changes, new income streams, new homes and ongoing tax considerations - you'll need to revisit your estate plan. Fortunately, the right estate planning lawyer can help you address these situations as they arise.

Making it manageable

Planning a wedding - and starting out on the journey of marriage - can be overwhelming. So, too, the prospect of preparing an estate plan can seem like just another hurdle on your lengthy to-do list.

Fortunately, you don't have to tackle it all at once. Take an afternoon with your fiancé(e) to sit down with an estate planning attorney and discuss how to get started. You'll almost certainly come away feeling good about your decision to prioritize this critical life step.

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