With the number of late in life marriages among older Americans on the rise, it is best to address financial, legal and blended family issues before walking down the aisle.
We Americans like to be married. So much so that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about a third of us have tied the knot at least twice. While the trend for younger adults is to delay getting married or not to marry at all, the number of Americans age 55 and up getting married again is on the rise.
The Flagstaff (AZ) Business News recently published an article, “Financial Issues to Consider in Remarriages,” which suggests that you should be candid about your financial situation. Couples who are marrying for the second (or third) time frequently have financial baggage. You should eliminate issues later in the marriage by having open and honest discussions about assets, debts and obligations. Think about the following questions to get the talks started:
- What financial obligations are we bringing to our marriage?
- How are our credit scores?
- Do we have financial obligations (alimony, child support) to our ex-spouse(s)?
- Do we want to pool our finances?
- Where will we live?
- How will our marriage impact college financial aid for our children from previous marriages or relationships?
It is also important to update life insurance, medical directives and beneficiary designations. If you don’t do this and you (or your spouse) die, part of your estate could go to a previous spouse. If you and your spouse have living wills, health care powers of attorney or healthcare directives, review them with your estate planning attorney to ensure that these documents reflect your current wishes.
You should also consider how remarriage affects your retirement planning, like the benefits your partner may be receiving. These can include a deceased spouse’s social security benefits or pension payments.
Discuss estate planning with your estate planning attorney because subsequent marriages can impact estate plans—a common concern among older couples. An older couple is more likely than younger newlyweds to bring property and other valuables into the relationship. They often may want these family valuables to go to their own children from a prior marriage.
A new marriage presents an exciting opportunity to start a new life together, but a successful second (or third, or fourth) marriage requires making sure that the legal, financial and emotional aspects of marriage are addressed. Clear and ongoing communication is the key.
Reference: Flagstaff (AZ) Business News (October 26, 2017) “Financial Issues to Consider in Remarriages”