Second (or third) marriages later in life can create a variety of challenges, since both partners often enter the union with significant assets accumulated over decades of earning. And, there are often grown children, grandchildren and inheritance issues.
If you’re thinking of walking down the aisle again — perhaps with a little more grey hair this time — here’s what you should keep in mind.
You need to prepare long enough to make sure you understand how marriage will affect your finances and to discuss how you want things to work.
It's also important to realise that this is the person who usually becomes the default decision maker in the event that you’re incapacitated — and vice versa — unless you have financial and healthcare powers of attorney that name someone else. You’ll have to talk about what your wishes are in those circumstances. If you can’t have these kinds of conversations before you get married, you may want to rethink binding yourself legally to that person.
Find out what marriage means in your area. Depending on your state, province or country, marriage means different things, legally.
Review your government benefits. Depending on where you live and your situation, marrying could affect the government benefits you’re receiving. In the US, a spouse’s income may affect your supplemental security income or cause you to lose the benefits — or any financial support from a previous marriage — you’re getting as a divorced spouse.
Think about taxes. How does combining incomes affect your tax bracket and what you’ll owe going forward?
Consider a prenuptial agreement. This is a document that clearly specifies what happens in case the marriage doesn’t work out.
Discuss estate planning and other wishes. It may seem morbid, but linking your lives legally has an impact on what happens to your assets when you die. So, you'll need to modify any estate planning documents already in place to reflect your new family situation, or create new ones. For instance, many people with children from a previous marriage want to ensure that their children will still inherit something after they die.
Sit down with your family. Ideally this should happen before you get married, but if it doesn’t, it should definitely happen after the wedding vows. Let your children know what’s happening with the family finances and how your marriage affects them — because they probably have questions.
“ As a rule of thumb, the best thing we can do is be as transparent as possible,” Chung said. “You can say, ‘I’m creating a plan, and these are the concerns that the lawyers brought up, and these are the ways we’re talking about dealing with them.’”