Here are some factors to consider when marrying, or remarrying, later in life.
Should You Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
In most situations, the answer is yes, particularly if you and your betrothed have children from previous marriages, a disparity in financial resources, or substantial assets. When couples marry, assets and income typically become community property. A prenuptial agreement makes provisions for dividing assets if the marriage ends. You should discuss your prenuptial agreement well in advance, and each party should have their own attorney.
Should You Have Separate Wills?
Rather than a joint will, it is wise for you and your future spouse to draft separate wills. This can reduce the potential for conflict over property distribution in the future.
Update Existing Estate Plans
It is important to update your estate plan when you get married, whether you’re marrying late in life or not. Doing so helps ensure your assets will be distributed according to your wishes when you pass away. You’ll want to review your powers of attorney, of course, and pay particular attention to your beneficiary designations on all legal and financial documents. If your ex-spouse is still named as beneficiary on, say, your life insurance policy or retirement plan, the ex could inherit these assets rather than your current spouse.
Protect Income Streams
Marriage can impact your income from Social Security, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, alimony, and more. If you have a dependent loved one with special needs, his or her eligibility for public benefits could be impacted as well. You should meet with a financial planner to discuss how you can protect your income.
Don’t Ignore the Possibility of Needing Expensive Long-Term Care
Most of us will require some form of long-term care after age 65. For couples marrying later in life, the obvious question is who will pay for it. If you and your future spouse are creating a prenuptial agreement, you may want to include language requiring each of you to purchase long-term care insurance (assuming such policies are affordable in your case). With the annual cost of a private room in a nursing home averaging over $105,000 in the United States, you can’t afford to ignore the possibility that one or both of you will eventually need long-term care. You should meet with a financial advisor to learn about long-term care insurance options, and an estate planning / elder law attorney to learn what you can do to pre-plan for long-term care.
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