Gentreo Life Events: How to Update Your Estate Plan When You Get Married

bride and groom touching hands on wedding day

Getting married is an amazing life event which brings forth a lot of changes. Between wedding planning, the honeymoon, and establishing your new life together, it can be easy to overlook some important steps that you need to take when getting married. One of the most important steps that should be taken when you get married is creating or updating your estate plan. 

There are many important ways that your spouse can be added to your estate plan, and if it is not up to date to include them, you cannot ensure that your wishes for you and your new spouse will be upheld. If you were ever in an accident and became incapacitated, you may want your spouse to be listed as both your Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy. 

By giving your new partner this authority, you are ensuring that your health and financial decisions can be handled quickly, without the need for court. While spouses are typically given these responsibilities by the court, the laws differ by state, and it’s important to have these documents in place. The court’s decision could add unnecessary time to the situation, especially if you had an ex from a previous marriage, who was still listed as your agent in these cases. Similarly, if you were to pass away, having an updated Will would guarantee that your spouse and family are given what you would have wanted, without court interference. 

Your marriage is such an important life event, and we want to ensure that you and your spouse are set to be protected for life. Creating your estate plan is such an important step in this process, yet so few people have them ready. A 2021 survey by found that the average age of marriage is 32 years old, yet a 2019 survey by found that less than 20% of people ages 18-34 had a Will. This means that on average, most newly married individuals do not have an estate plan. However, according to a 2016 survey done by, 71% would feel like a better spouse if they had a properly planned estate. We know that protecting yourself and your new partner is a priority, which is why Gentreo makes creating and updating your plan easy and affordable for everyone.

Steps to Update Your Estate Plan When You Get Married

Create Your Will

One of the most important documents for you to have during this important life event is your Will. A Will not only protects you and your estate in the event that you were to pass away, but ensures that your spouse and family are given the assets and finances that they would need during this time. If you have no legal Will, the laws in most states typically determine spouses as beneficiaries to your estate by default. However, there is no guarantee that your spouse will receive the exact benefits that you would want for them. For example, if you wanted your spouse to be the sole beneficiary of your estate, or wanted to designate a specific portion to them, you would need to specify your wishes in your Will.

Update Your Existing Will

You probably want your new spouse to be named as a beneficiary on your Will. If you created your Will prior to your marriage, your spouse would not be named a beneficiary of your estate without an update to your Will. If something terrible were to happen, your spouse could be left with nothing, with all your assets going to the family and loved ones which you had previously named as beneficiaries.

Update Your Health Care Proxy

A Health Care Proxy is both an estate document and a person who is designated by your estate plan to make all health care decisions for you in the event that you were incapacitated and couldn’t make those decisions yourself. When you are married, you may consider naming your spouse as your Health Care Proxy to ensure that you are prepared for any situation. This allows for quick health-related decisions to be made, and by someone who is close to you and that you trust to handle these important decisions. Without a Health Care Proxy, it can take valuable time for your loved ones to get authority to make these decisions, and a court could choose someone you would not want to control your health care.

Update Your Power of Attorney

Similarly to a Health Care Proxy, a Power of Attorney ensures that someone you trust can make your financial decisions on your behalf if you were unable to make these decisions yourself. A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to pay bills and handle your finances, preventing you from financial risk while you are incapacitated. Since finances are often combined when you are married, your spouse may already be your effective Power of Attorney, being a signer or named account holder on many of your accounts. However, they may not be named as such on all your accounts. Updating your Power of Attorney when you get married ensures your new spouse can manage your finances in an emergency and prevents wasted time and costs to receive a delegation from the court.

Update Any Other Documents

There are many other ways that your spouse can be included in an estate plan, and it is important that you make all of the necessary changes to ensure that court intervention isn’t needed in a later situation. Your spouse should be added as an emergency contact on your Emergency Card to ensure they are informed if anything were to happen to you. They can also be listed as a caretaker for any pets, so that your pet family members can be given care if you couldn’t be around to care for them yourself.

Getting married is a huge life event, and with it comes many life changes. At Gentreo, we know that protecting yourself and your new spouse is the number one priority, and want to make sure that you have all the resources needed to ensure that you are both prepared for anything. Gentreo makes it easy and affordable to create, update, and store your estate documentation. With the Gentreo Digital Family Vault, everyone knows where to turn in the event of an emergency and instant access is always just a few clicks away. Sign up today to give you and your new spouse the protection you deserve.


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