With June coming up, wedding season is fast approaching. Couples of all ages are working out the final details before they walk down the aisle. However, older or more financially settled people, who may be on a second (or third) marriage, may need to take a few additional steps to ensure the well-being of their children, their retirement savings or their business, while providing a foundation for a lasting marriage.
“When people get married later in life, they typically have more assets and more responsibilities to consider than newlyweds in their 20’s,” said Mary Martuscelli, West Region President of the Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank in Phoenix. “To have a strong marriage and prevent future issues, it is important for couples to be open and up front about their financial obligations and concerns before going into marriage.”
Martuscelli recommends starting with a conversation about your priorities and obligations, including when you want to retire, if you need to pay for a child’s college education or if there are any major purchases or donations you want to make. You need to make sure that you understand each other’s saving and spending habits, so there are no surprises. It may make sense to sit down with a financial advisor or a couples’ counselor to provide a third party perspective and ensure that no important topics are missed.
When you have assets going into a marriage it is also a good idea to discuss a prenuptial agreement. “If you did not trust each other, you would not be getting married,” says Martuscelli. “However, a prenup is an important step for securing your future and that of your children or business. It is not something that you can afford to leave to chance.”
Depending on where you live, marriage could negate previous estate plans that you already have in place, which also makes the discussion of wills and trusts an important part of marriage plans . New couples must take care of each other, but also need to ensure the continued wellbeing of children and other dependents. Spend some time assessing your new needs with your financial advisor. Your estate planning should be updated to reflect your new priorities and protect your new spouse and any dependents.