The leading cause of stress in relationships in general and marriages in particular are finances, as reported in an article from My Primetime News, “Hearing Wedding Bells? Be Sure Finances are Included in Your Planning,” by Gerald Rome, Colorado Securities Commissioner. As many as a third of people, say that money is the primary source of discord in their partnership. So, why not eliminate the problem by addressing it?
Summer is upon us, and as Rome notes, it is wedding season. Whether you’re taking the plunge later in life—maybe for the second time or advising a young couple about to make the ultimate commitment—much of the thought process is the same. There’s perhaps no topic less uncomfortable, but more important, than finances.
Before you or a loved one say, “I do,” be sure to consider the following:
Transparency. Many divorces stem from a lack of honesty about finances. Before you walk down the aisle, be sure you know everything about your betrothed’s financial past, spending habits, investing philosophy, and goals for the future. That means sharing information on major debts from education, business, and home loans, as well as credit scores and bankruptcy history. If you’re entering a second marriage, be truthful about any alimony being paid to or received from a former spouse.
For those marrying later in life, think about how or whether to merge accumulated assets and how to compromise on handling financial affairs, after what may have been many years of individual decision-making.
Financial Roles. For co-mingled finances, it’s important to be certain that you’re clear on who will handle what. Many financial issues that arise later in life are due to one spouse not knowing what’s going on and being deluged with a mountain of new information and decision-making in the event of a spouse’s sudden illness or death.
Prenuptial Agreement. Detailing what will happen to assets if the marriage fails, isn’t about a lack of trust—it’s about being prepared.
Estate Planning. Organize your property to ensure that no matter what happens your family’s financial needs will be met. This includes drafting powers of attorney, creating or revising your wills, purchasing life insurance policies, revisiting retirement accounts and investment funds, establishing trusts, aligning assets with the estate plan, and naming beneficiaries and considering any tax implications.
By dealing with the business side of marriage from the start, you may learn a lot more about your intended than you would if you had avoided the conversation. Once you know what each other’s financial status is, good or bad, you can figure out how to fix it—or enjoy it! By working with an experienced estate planning attorney and getting your estate plan prepared, you’ll be ready to relax and enjoy each other, without any nagging worries about financial or legal mysteries.
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Reference: My Primetime News (May 2, 2018) “Hearing Wedding Bells? Be Sure Finances are Included in Your Planning”