Ah, summertime, the heart of what is commonly regarded as “wedding season.” This year, most in the industry expect an even busier summer for nuptials, as many couples originally scheduled to get hitched in 2020, postponed those plans due to COVID-19. As always, some of those happy couples likely will include individuals who have been married before. According to the Pew Research Center, among married adults, about 23% have been married once before. Remarriage, particularly for those with significant assets, can introduce a host of unique complications and considerations. Fortunately, advanced thought and planning can help to avoid potential problems. Some common areas we often consult with clients on are:
The money talk. Everyone has a different approach to money, financial organization, and spending. If you believe in strict budgeting and modest living, you may foresee conflicts with a future spouse that likes to spend more freely. You should discuss how to make that work once you are married. This will help you understand each other’s mindset and plan for compromises that work for both of you.
Bills, bills, bills. Dealing with everyday finances can be an area of contention for even the strongest of relationships. You can set up a joint account, contributing a set amount each month, or you may choose to maintain separate accounts, dividing up who pays for what. The percentage that each person pays might be split equally or unequally depending on each person’s ability to contribute. There are also non-everyday expenses, such as children’s schooling, charitable contributions, and major purchases. Developing your expense strategy ahead of time can ease the stress of starting your new life together.
Look to the future. Marriage, in addition to being a celebration and a milestone, can also be a good opportunity to make sure your intentions for different situations are honored. Your will may need updating, especially if you have children from your prior marriage for whom you wish to leave a legacy. This new financial planning may involve a trust to provide for your spouse while still passing on the assets in the trust to your children when you and your spouse are both gone. Other items to consider are financial accounts, healthcare powers of attorney, insurance policies, real estate, art, or other real assets that you may wish to share with your partner. Your advisor can help you identify items that need to be reviewed.