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Reviewing your estate plan: when you marry or choose a life partner


You may not need a full estate plan unless you are ill or have a lot of savings and property. However, you and your spouse or partner will need a will even if you don't think you have a lot. Getting married invalidates any prior will that you may have had.

Here are some things you should both think about: 

  • What will happen to my partner if I die? How will they carry on financially?
    A will can protect your partner financially if you die. You will also likely want to make them the beneficiary of any retirement plans or life insurance you have. If you own a house together, you may want to have both your names on the title. This is called survivorship registration. This means that if something happens to you, your spouse or partner will continue to own your home. Otherwise, there could be a delay before they get the property in their name, and they may have to pay some extra taxes.
  • What will happen if I am badly injured or too ill to make decisions?
    You need a power of attorney and a living will to state your wishes. These papers give the people you name the power to make financial and health care decisions for you if you are not able.