Marriage is one of the most dramatic changes an individual can make to their family circumstances. By combining households and finances with a spouse, an individual can drastically alter their current standard of living and their future opportunities.
When people marry later in life or when they remarry after losing a spouse or divorcing, they likely already have valuable property obtained separately to consider, and they may also have children that they may need to protect. How do those remarrying or marrying later in life do so without taking unnecessary risks?
They protect themselves from the earliest stages
Starting a blended family will inevitably mean some unique challenges, and ideally both spouses recognize those issues early in the relationship. A prenuptial agreement signed prior to marriage or a postnuptial agreement drafted when conflicts arise in a blended family can reduce the risk of divorce and also establish crucial protections for someone’s assets and children. Even if someone doesn’t want to negotiate a contract before marrying, having a discussion with a spouse about what will remain separate for the sake of the children could be an important conversation.
They update their estate plans
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help blended families if the relationship ends in divorce, but a marriage later in life could also very easily end in one of the spouses dying. Updating estate planning documents to address key assets and to have protections in place for both a new spouse and children from a prior relationship will be of the utmost importance.
Documents ranging from someone’s will to their life insurance beneficiary designations will need to reflect the arrangements that they have made with their spouse. Those who remarry and have children that they do not share with their new spouse often find that adding a trust to their estate plans is a good way to maximize the protection for their children.
Generally speaking, those remarrying or getting married later in life need to consider what assets they have that could be vulnerable and what support their children and new spouse will need when their family circumstances eventually change. Making sure that everyone in the family is aware of someone’s intentions and in agreement about what is fair and reasonable can benefit those who are planning to remarry.