A Legal/Financial Checklist for Newlyweds

Reviewed Jan 15, 2016

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Summary

Go through this list of questions together before or as soon as you get married.

Now that love has brought you together, don’t let financial and legal issues get between you. Here’s a list of questions to ask to help your marriage get off to a good start.

Saving and spending

  • Have we agreed on financial goals, such as buying a house in 5 years?
  • Are we saving 20 percent of our take-home pay?
  • Are we taking advantage of 401(k)s or similar plans?
  • Do we track our spending on food, housing, transportation, utilities and other items?
  • Have we agreed on a budget?
  • Are we following that budget?  

Being prepared

  • Do we have an emergency cash fund equal to at least 3 months of expenses?
  • Do we have adequate life insurance coverage?
  • Do we have long-term disability insurance?
  • Do we have family health coverage?
  • Have we both made out wills and durable powers of attorney?
  • Have we updated beneficiary designations on insurance policies and retirement plans?
  • Have we notified the Social Security Administration of any name changes?
  • For a recent move, have we told the U.S. Postal Service and the IRS about our new address?
  • For any children from previous marriages, have we made estate-planning provisions for their support and/or inheritance?  

Working together

  • Do we know which of us will be responsible for paying bills, balancing the checkbook and keeping us on budget?
  • Are we committed to communication, so that we both know at all times how our money is being spent, saved and invested?
  • Have we agreed on how many checking accounts and what type (joint or separate) to have?
  • Does either of us have credit-card balances that are not paid off each month? Do we have a plan to pay off those balances?
  • Have we reviewed our credit reports to see if we’re starting our life together with a clean slate?
By Tom Gray

Summary

Go through this list of questions together before or as soon as you get married.

Now that love has brought you together, don’t let financial and legal issues get between you. Here’s a list of questions to ask to help your marriage get off to a good start.

Saving and spending

  • Have we agreed on financial goals, such as buying a house in 5 years?
  • Are we saving 20 percent of our take-home pay?
  • Are we taking advantage of 401(k)s or similar plans?
  • Do we track our spending on food, housing, transportation, utilities and other items?
  • Have we agreed on a budget?
  • Are we following that budget?  

Being prepared

  • Do we have an emergency cash fund equal to at least 3 months of expenses?
  • Do we have adequate life insurance coverage?
  • Do we have long-term disability insurance?
  • Do we have family health coverage?
  • Have we both made out wills and durable powers of attorney?
  • Have we updated beneficiary designations on insurance policies and retirement plans?
  • Have we notified the Social Security Administration of any name changes?
  • For a recent move, have we told the U.S. Postal Service and the IRS about our new address?
  • For any children from previous marriages, have we made estate-planning provisions for their support and/or inheritance?  

Working together

  • Do we know which of us will be responsible for paying bills, balancing the checkbook and keeping us on budget?
  • Are we committed to communication, so that we both know at all times how our money is being spent, saved and invested?
  • Have we agreed on how many checking accounts and what type (joint or separate) to have?
  • Does either of us have credit-card balances that are not paid off each month? Do we have a plan to pay off those balances?
  • Have we reviewed our credit reports to see if we’re starting our life together with a clean slate?
By Tom Gray

Summary

Go through this list of questions together before or as soon as you get married.

Now that love has brought you together, don’t let financial and legal issues get between you. Here’s a list of questions to ask to help your marriage get off to a good start.

Saving and spending

  • Have we agreed on financial goals, such as buying a house in 5 years?
  • Are we saving 20 percent of our take-home pay?
  • Are we taking advantage of 401(k)s or similar plans?
  • Do we track our spending on food, housing, transportation, utilities and other items?
  • Have we agreed on a budget?
  • Are we following that budget?  

Being prepared

  • Do we have an emergency cash fund equal to at least 3 months of expenses?
  • Do we have adequate life insurance coverage?
  • Do we have long-term disability insurance?
  • Do we have family health coverage?
  • Have we both made out wills and durable powers of attorney?
  • Have we updated beneficiary designations on insurance policies and retirement plans?
  • Have we notified the Social Security Administration of any name changes?
  • For a recent move, have we told the U.S. Postal Service and the IRS about our new address?
  • For any children from previous marriages, have we made estate-planning provisions for their support and/or inheritance?  

Working together

  • Do we know which of us will be responsible for paying bills, balancing the checkbook and keeping us on budget?
  • Are we committed to communication, so that we both know at all times how our money is being spent, saved and invested?
  • Have we agreed on how many checking accounts and what type (joint or separate) to have?
  • Does either of us have credit-card balances that are not paid off each month? Do we have a plan to pay off those balances?
  • Have we reviewed our credit reports to see if we’re starting our life together with a clean slate?
By Tom Gray

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