Category: Prenup

A Few Words of Advice for Getting Married in Your Golden Years

If you're in your senior years, you may want to think twice before tying the knot. The love bug can bite at any age, and that can include pain in your wallet. This advice comes from The Hartford (CT) Courant in its recent article “Fit to Be Tied? Think Twice About Marriage in Your Golden Years.”

A late marriage can mess up your previous plans for your estate, personal finances, as well as any advance directives for your end-of-life health care. It can also impact decisions you've made and will make, in addition to those of your spouse and heirs. 11-11-16

No one is saying that older folks shouldn’t marry. They just need to be aware of the impact it may have on their plans. Elder law attorneys advise that those thinking about marriage later in life, at the time when personal wealth is typically the highest, understand the laws on the property rights of both spouses.

Property owned jointly or exclusively by either spouse is deemed to be marital property when it comes to divorce settlement or settling an estate in many states. If you understand the applicable property rights before the marriage, it’ll let you modify your wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies and designated beneficiaries to avoid legal conflicts in the future. Those who marry later in life must face several estate planning issues younger couples don’t. For example, there may be an accumulation of considerable assets or both may have children from earlier relationships.

Marriage is a legal contract between two people that can only be ended by death, annulment or divorce. The laws concerning marriage typically aim to protect the rights and interests of both spouses. One spouse can’t entirely “disinherit" their surviving spouse, regardless of what he or she writes in a will. Under the law of some states, a surviving spouse is entitled to the income generated from a third of their late spouse’s estate for the rest of their life after all its liabilities are settled.

A good idea to eliminate possible hard feelings is a professionally drafted prenuptial agreement. This document details the legal course to be followed in the event of divorce and decreases the possibility of major disagreements.

Reference: The Hartford (CT) Courant (Sept. 24, 2016) “Fit to Be Tied? Think Twice About Marriage in Your Golden Years”

Be Smart When You Say “I Do” the Second or Third Time

Can you believe that 37% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages end up in divorce? Those are not good odds. CBS Boston’s recent article, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Second or Third Go Around,” asks, “What is it about marriage that makes folks want to try it again and again?”

It sort of goes without saying that when you land at the altar for the second or third time, you need to do some more planning than you did the first time. Use your past experience to pinpoint some of the pitfalls because there are studies—believe it or not—that show most individuals actually repeat their mistakes. 10-11-2016

Before the ceremony, have an open and honest conversation about money, children, estate planning, and maybe even a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement can be a wise move for almost anyone with assets; they aren’t just for celebrities or the very wealthy.

A prenup can provide a fair and equitable way for a couple to start a relationship—particularly when: one has more assets than the other; one spouse is expecting to inherit future assets; or there are children from a previous marriage for whom you want to provide.

It’s important to remember that the older you are when you enter into a second marriage, the more concerned you should be about planning. Love at any age can throw things out of kilter in a good way, and you want to provide for this new person in your life.

But marriage has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is potentially losing benefits from your first marriage such as a pension or health care coverage if you remarry. In addition, it could impact your Social Security benefits.

If you’re entering into a relationship, and you both have adult children, assets, and a home from a previous marriage, consider a prenup and a conversation with an estate planning attorney.

If you’re married, the law says that you’re financially responsible for your spouse’s care. If you don’t have an estate plan, most states will assume that you want everything to go to your spouse and children if you should pass away, with 50% going to each. That may not be what you wanted, and if you want everything to go to your children upon your death, you need to speak with a qualified estate planning attorney and create a sound estate plan.

Reference: CBS Boston (August 18, 2016) “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Second or Third Go Around”

Estate Planning Changes for LGBT Couples

The ruling lets same-sex couples file jointly for tax purposes and changes estate planning because now many requirements of opposite-sex couples are placed upon same-sex couples. This means that estate planning should be straightforward and much easier. The Huffington Post article, “5 Estate Planning Tips LGBT Families Need to Follow in 2016,” has a handful of tips for starting a life with a same-sex partner.

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  1. Make a Will. A will can do several things to protect your assets and wishes when you die. It prevents costly probate issues, properly divides your assets per your wishes and can provide guardianship of your children. If you die without a will in place, intestate succession happens, which varies by state.
  2. Look at a Prenup. It’s not too romantic to ask your partner after saying “yes” to a marriage proposal to sign a prenuptial agreement. But this agreement lets you enter into a legal and financial arrangement prior to the wedding, and you can avoid some legal issues if you divorce.
  3. Sign a Power of Attorney. If you’re married, don’t just assume that your spouse is automatically granted power of attorney over your affairs. There needs to be a power of attorney created, and it can be for either or both financial and health care control. If your spouse becomes incapacitated, you’ll be able to make financial and health decisions on his or her behalf. Also, note that while a living will lets you state the kinds of health care you wish to have, a power of attorney allows your spouse to make decisions on your behalf.
  4. Examine your Estate Tax Liability. The state where you live may have its own estate tax at a low threshold. For federal taxes, estates worth over $5.45 million need to pay federal estate tax.
  5. Be Ready for the Unexpected. In case the Supreme Court’s decision is overturned in the future or other laws go into effect, it’s critical that your estate planning strategy contemplates as many eventualities as possible. A few documents to consider are a Domestic Partnership Agreement, a Living Will and a Living Trust.

Lastly, your final arrangements should also be detailed while you are alive and should be included in your estate plan.

Reference: Huffington Post (July 13, 2016) “5 Estate Planning Tips LGBT Families Need to Follow in 2016”