We Americans like to be married. Evidenced by the fact that about a third of us have tied the knot at least twice, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While the tendency for younger adults is to delay getting married or not to marry at all, the rising trend for Americans age 55 and up is to get married again.
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 and your financial plan by having open and honest discussions about assets, debts and obligations. Think about the following questions to get the conversation 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?
- What are our estate planning goals?
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. Often, they may want these family valuables to go to their own children from a prior marriage. Forgoing a reevaluation of your estate plan could lead to assets going to unintended recipients.
A new marriage presents an exciting opportunity to start a new life together, but any successful marriage no matter if it is the second, third, or fourth, requires making sure that the legal, financial and emotional aspects of marriage are addressed. Clear continual communication is crucial.
To assist in this process, at Family Estate Planning Law Group strongly encourage our clients to hold a Family Care Meeting. This meeting helps you address the aforementioned questions and gets the whole team together: your financial professionals, as well as those you’ve asked to become trustees or take on other fiduciary roles in your estate plan. It also introduces your financial and estate planning teams to one another—giving them the opportunity to collaborate on your behalf and find new planning opportunities for you and your new spouse. This meeting helps with seamlessly blending the lives couples who are marrying again.
Family Care Meetings also present heirs with the opportunity to hear about how you’ve created a plan to take care of them after you’re gone. This is the most important way you can care for your heirs, and maintain fairness and understanding in your blended family.
Collaboration and communication can mean an even more effective estate plan for you! For more information about the Family Care Meeting and the importance of collaboration between your financial professionals, explore our website and contact us to schedule your consultation today!
Reference: Flagstaff (AZ) Business News (October 26, 2017) “Financial Issues to Consider in Remarriages”