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Insurance and estate planning after marriage

Getting married can impact many aspects of your life. It’s understandable that reviewing employer benefits, insurance coverages, and estate planning might be some of the last things on your mind during such an exciting time. However, there are some important things to keep in mind as you’re navigating your post-marriage life. Let’s look at how marriage can impact your benefits, insurance, and estate planning.

Compare workplace benefits and health insurance

Once you’re married, you may wish to evaluate your health insurance. Marriage and other life events qualify for a special enrollment period for employer-provided benefits or in the health insurance marketplace. 

It’s important to act relatively quickly because there is a deadline for making changes to your health insurance or other benefits. 

Typically, you’ll have 30 days (or 31) to make changes to your employer benefits following a qualifying life event. During the special enrollment period, you can make changes to health insurance and other benefits like increasing your savings in a health care flexible spending account, signing up for a dependent care flexible spending account, or increasing life insurance coverage.

You’ll have 60 days to enroll in or change a marketplace plan.

Wills and beneficiaries after marriage

Estate planning isn’t limited to the wealthy—it’s for anyone who is considering protecting their family with a plan. A few relatively easy steps can outline a plan to honor your wishes after you die. 

If you and your spouse haven’t created a will, it’s not too late to write one. A will is a legal document that can set forth your wishes on things like the distribution of your assets and who will care for your children when you die. 

Review your beneficiaries—primary and contingent. Typically, under federal law, your spouse is automatically the primary beneficiary on a workplace savings account—check your plan rules to make sure. You can ask your spouse to sign a waiver if you both agree you want to name another beneficiary. 

You should also check the beneficiaries named on your other financial accounts and life insurance policies. Be sure your accounts are up-to-date and reflect your current wishes, as beneficiaries named on accounts take precedence over instructions given in other estate planning documents. Check with an estate planning attorney to ensure that your plans can be honored.

Other important documents to consider

Even with a spouse legally empowered to make important decisions for you if you can’t, it makes sense to have a contingency plan. These documents can help ensure that your wishes are followed if you’re incapacitated:
  • Advance health care directives, also called living wills, outline a person’s wishes for treatment if incapacitated. They typically accompany a durable power of attorney for health care, also known as a health care proxy.
  • A durable power of attorney for finances lets you choose an agent to make financial decisions and pay bills if you can’t.

Protect what matters most with an estate plan

The Fidelity Estate Planner® will guide you through the estate planning process—for free.

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This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.

Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.