Smart Planning Prior to Saying “I Do”

Wedding aft 50The greatest gift you can give one another as you approach your forthcoming nuptials is financial disclosure; it may not be romantic but it is information that will serve you both well!

Regardless of when you marry, especially given the trend these days of delaying marriage until your late twenties or early thirties, you likely have acquired assets prior to marriage.  This is certainly true if you are remarrying after a long first marriage or both soon-to-be spouses have children.  Let’s look at some topics of concern:

Assets and Liabilities. Do a complete review of both of your assets and liabilities. Assets include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, house, cars, retirement plans, insurance contracts and other investments. Liabilities are things like your credit cards, student loan debt, car loans and mortgages. In addition, note that there are rules in community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin), where asset ownership is treated differently: in these states, the law presumes that assets will be owned jointly.

Daily Financial Management. You should next think about how’ll manage your financial obligations on a regular basis. Some couples combine their checking accounts, and some keep separate checking accounts.  However, you should create a new joint account, into which both parties make a monthly contribution. Joint expenses are paid from the new account, and other personal expenses are paid with individual accounts.

Beneficiary Designations. Your retirement plans—like your IRA and 401(k)—have named beneficiaries. These should be checked regularly.  The same thing should be done with your insurance policies and annuities. This is the perfect time to review who is currently designated, because any agreements from your first marriage may potentially inhibit your ability to update your beneficiaries. They should also be reviewed.

Update Your Estate Plan. A will states your final wishes and details how specific property will be distributed to your heirs. It also designates guardians for minor children and your executor, the person you nominate to make sure your wishes get carried out. It is an excellent time to review your will, to see if you should execute a new one or modify the existing one. Blended family dynamics can also have an impact when reviewing your estate plan. If either spouse has children from a previous relationship, adjustments to your plan may be necessary.

Trusts and Trustees. Ask your estate planning attorney about trusts, like a bypass trust, a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust, or a spendthrift trust. One of these or another kind of trust may be a useful way to transfer wealth to children while imposing some restrictions. Dividing your assets between a surviving second spouse, the children from that marriage and any children from a prior marriage may result in some tension. One way to avoid this is to give an independent trustee the ability to make adjustments, so everyone is treated fairly and according to your instructions.

Thoughtful planning will let you meet your family’s fiscal needs and create a strong financial future with your new spouse.

Reference: Investopedia (May 29, 2018) “Second Marriage Financial Matters to Consider”


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.