Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Getting Your Documents in Order

After the glow of your honeymoon subsides, you need to settle into your new life together. You’ll likely name each other as beneficiaries on your 401(k)s or Roth IRAs. You might need to go through the process of changing your name (more on this in an upcoming post).

One important thing you will also need to do is get your legal documents in order. You should probably have a will, a living will and a power of attorney. A major health crisis in my family (my grandmother had a massive stroke) really brought this to our attention.

Having spent tons of money on a mediocre attorney in the past, I wasn’t anxious to do so again. After a lot of online research, I found LegalZoom, a cost-effective approach of fill-in-the-blank documents. There are other companies, both online and off-line, that offer this service (some are better than others). This one-size-fits-all approach probably isn’t going to serve you well if you have kids, complex estates, but if you’re relatively young and just starting out (like us), it should work for you.

If anything like what happened to my grandmother ever happens to us, I just wanted to be prepared. We waited almost two years after our wedding to do this, which was way too long. Shortly after your wedding, you should look into getting these legal documents in order.

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