What Are the Risks of Marrying Late in Life?

Senior Couple Getting Married In Beach Ceremony Looking At Each Other SmilingWhen you’re ready to get married, it is unlikely that you are “counting the costs” of marriage. However, when two people marry later in life, the financial costs can be significant. The older you are, the more likely you have acquired significant possessions, property, and assets. In addition, you may have children from previous relationships. It is important for couples to have difficult legal and financial conversations sooner than later.

While it is difficult for couples of any age to navigate through combining finances, the older you are, the more likely you are to be set in your spending habits and money management styles. If either party has minor children from a previous relationship, it may bring additional issues of paying or receiving child support payments. When there are adult children and grandchildren, inheritance is often a pressing and delicate subject.

Inheritance and property laws can vary significantly by state, so it is important to discuss financial and legal wishes prior to marriage. Below are a few things to consider before walking down the aisle:

  • Be open about debt
  • Be honest about what you hope to leave to your children or family
  • What will you own together?
  • What are your burial wishes? Would you like to be buried by your children or even a previous spouse?
  • Discuss your estate plan options. Do you wish to update wills, trusts, life insurance policies, and beneficiaries?
  • Discuss your retirement goals
  • How will you pay for major events such as college or marriage of a child?
  • Do you have a formal legal agreement for custody and child support of a former spouse or partner?
  • What are your long-term care wishes?

Many financial planners, estate planners, and accountants also advise considering a prenuptial agreement when marrying later in life. In most states, all assets and income become community property after marriage. This means that property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is presumed to be equally owned by both spouses. A prenuptial agreement can help determine what will be left to each of your families if you divorce or die. It can also stop your spouse from challenging your will or a preexisting trust.

Marriage can affect every aspect of your financial life. It is important to discuss finances with each other as well as with a certified public accountant and an estate planning attorney before your big day. The good news is, once these difficult financial conversations are out of the way and details have been agreed on, you can settle in with your new spouse and enjoy your life happily ever after.

Contact A Los Angeles Estate Planning Attorney

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding getting married late in life, contact the experienced Los Angeles Estate Planning attorney at LA Elder Law by calling 310-823-3943 to schedule an appointment.