When Remarrying Gets Complicated

Older bridesAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, remarriage among Americans ages 55 and older is increasing. That can create several complex financial, legal, and emotional matters that should be addressed.

Couples who are marrying for the second (or third) time frequently have financial baggage. You should eliminate issues later in the marriage by having open and honest discussions about assets, debts, and obligations. Think about the following questions to get the talks 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?

 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 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. They often may want these family valuables to go to their own children from a prior marriage.

Beginning again with a new partner is exciting, even when the new marriage introduces complex financial considerations. Talking to each other, as always, is the key to long-term success.

Reference: Flagstaff (AZ) Business News (October 26, 2017) “Financial Issues to Consider in Remarriages”


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