Are you getting married? Undoubtedly, this is an exciting time with lots to get done before and after the big day. And one task that should be on your to-do list as a couple is to meet with a certified public accountant (CPA). Why does a pair of soon-to-be newlyweds need a professional accountant? Here are five important steps they will help with.
1. Tax Planning as a Couple. When you get married, your income taxes change regardless of whether or not you plan to file together. Your income and deductions will change and you'll have access to new credits while possibly losing access to others. Early planning is important since many strategies — like the timing of your compensation or adjusting withholding — must be done in advance.
2. Preparing Family Budgeting. Adjusting to life as a couple has natural challenges, and the financial aspects can be some of the hardest. Your accountant will help you look at all your resources and brainstorm ways to craft a monthly financial plan that works for all parties. The independent nature of a third party can be a great way to keep things neutral and positive.
3. Merging Spousal Finances. Most people who enter into a marriage bring with them some type of past financial baggage. It could be positive, such as retirement accounts, or it could be negative, such as debts. You can and should merge some of these assets while maintaining the separation of others. For example, the only way to prevent an inheritance from becoming marital property is to keep it strictly separate in location and use.
4. Making New Estate Plans. Now that you're a family, you both should complete new estate planning and end-of-life documentation. Some rights come automatically for a spouse but others must be legally codified and documents changed. You may also need to learn about issues facing spouses like automatic inheritance, joint tenancy, and benefits if you divorce.
5. Coming Up With Goals. What do you and your spouse want to prioritize? Do you want to start a family, buy a home, or go back to school? Are you both on the same page about retirement goals? Are there aging parents who will need help? Both shared and individual goals work best when implemented as a team. An accountant can help you learn financial targets to reach and explore ways to maximize investments.
Could you and your fiancé use assistance with any of these tasks? If so, start by making an appointment with a public accountant in your state today. Together, you can start out your marriage on the best financial footing possible.
Reach out to a public accountant service to learn more.