Planning a wedding is fun! You have to think about the cake, the colors of the decorations, the ceremony and even the people you want to have as bridesmaids and groomsmen. Most Florida residents probably avoid thinking about estate planning during this magical time; after all, what could a will have to do with your marital bliss? It turns out that prenuptial agreements, trusts and wills all play a very important role in your married life; it is best to get a head start by discussing these topics early.

When you get married, you need to make sure that your financial affairs are in order in the event of your death. Every married couple needs to have individual wills, even if they do not have great financial resources. Estate planning can actually provide a great compromise if one of the spouses is “moneyed” and the other is not. Instead of forcing the other person into a prenuptial agreement, assets can be left in trusts. Those who really require prenuptial agreements are generally older couples with their own holdings in retirement accounts and other assets.

In addition to basic estate planning such as a will, married couples must make sure that they hand over power of attorney to each other, allowing their spouse to make legal decisions in case they are incapacitated. These documents go hand-in-hand with living wills and health care proxies, which are designed to help your loved ones make difficult medical decisions in your last days. Your health care proxy — in this case, your spouse — can fight for your right to receive the medical care you want.

Estate planning is important for every adult, but your estate plan definitely needs to be reviewed after major life events such as a marriage. Professional attorneys can help craft a personalized estate plan for you. These documents can set up the framework for property division after your death, preventing probate and leading to less stress for your family.

Luis E. Barreto