Avoiding “marriage-money-traps” second time around
One day life’s familiar, it’s ordered, it’s predictable. Then, without warning, the death of a partner leaves you in a sad and lonely place.
Maybe it was sudden. Maybe they declined slowly over many years. But the fact remains you are now on your own.
Family and friends do their best to help and there are activities, clubs and outings to keep you busy. But a lifetime of marriage did not prepare you for a cold and empty home.
Despite all the support from others, there remains a yearning for closeness and intimacy that remains unfulfilled. Few seem to understand. You almost call, “darling I’m home”, as you come in the door and you still hear the cheerful words, “and what have you got on tomorrow?” as you sit down to dinner, alone.
It’s a whole new ball game and slowly, reluctantly, you start to learn the rules.
Then out of the blue you meet someone new.
They seem to understand how you feel. They share your interests. They laugh at the same jokes and all of a sudden life has meaning again. You look forward to each new day.
Pretty soon things are getting serious. You go away for the week-end. Instead of driving home after a lovely meal and a glass of wine, you sleep over at their place. You begin to plan a holiday away together and before live dealer casino New Zealand long the “M” word is raised in casual conversation. MARRIAGE; isn’t that what long term relationships are all about?
It’s romantic, it’s exciting, you feel alive again, but at the same time you know, somewhere in the back of your mind, life has just got a lot more complicated and there is a range of new questions and dilemmas to consider.
- What will people think?
- More to the point, what will the kids think?
- Am I doing the right thing?
- Do we really need to get married; after all, just living together can’t be all that bad?
It’s around this time, with feelings of love, romance and new beginnings sweeping you along, that the other “M” word – the prickly issue of MONEY – needs to be addressed, but sadly, so often isn’t.
It’s only natural that while your heart’s in over-load, the brain is on vacation. And while family and friends will be delighted and overjoyed to discover that you have found companionship and love, some relationships can be built on the wrong motives. Motives which have at their core a desire for “money” (your money) and “control” (over you) and which you may be ill-equipped to detect and resist.
Further, some people see a discussion about money as a sign of “lacking trust”, when in fact an open, mature conversation on the topic can be quite the opposite. It can also be a good test of the other person’s true motives and a sign of whether, despite a lifetime of difference, you really can plan and work together with this person.
After all, if your two lives do become one, through marriage, or simply living together, it’s not a question of “IF”, but “WHEN”, these money issues are finally addressed. Doing it now means everything is out in the open and you can move on and enjoy your future life together.
Whilst there are a multitude of “money questions” out there, the following are a good start:
- How do I ensure my children and grandchildren benefit from my eventual estate when I die, NOT the children of my new partner?
- What impact will marriage have on our Age Pensions?
- How do I financially provide for my new partner when I die, while respecting the wishes of my first partner to pass everything onto the kids?
- Whose home do we keep, or sell, or do we sell them both and buy something new?
- Who pays for what on a day-to-day basis?
As mentioned above, failing to address these questions won’t make them go away. It’s just that, if left to chance, or put off to a future time, the eventual outcome may be very different to what you originally intended.
For example, marriage makes your current will invalid. So, if you haven’t made a new will in contemplation of marriage, your original intentions (and those of your first spouse) are NOT likely to be met. What’s more, your will can be challenged if you have not made adequate provision for someone who depends on you for support and maintenance.
Whilst you might think that a “pre-nuptial agreement”, or what is correctly called in Australia, a “Binding Financial Agreement”, is the stuff of Hollywood stars and wealthy tycoons, this is far from the truth.
A Binding Financial Agreement is simply a way of documenting and confirming each person’s true intentions – that neither party seeks to unfairly benefit financially from the other. It gives you and your family peace of mind and just makes sense.
A suitably qualified solicitor must draw up a Binding Financial Agreement and of course both parties must obtain separate legal representation.
What goes into the agreement will naturally vary, depending on personal circumstances. However, it can often be useful to engage the services of a financial planner, experienced in estate planning matters, to work through your numbers in advance and tailor answers to your specific “money questions” allpokies.co.nz. This enables you to be fully prepared when at last you consult the solicitor and will also help keep your costs down.
Whether we admit it or not, getting older can make us more emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation and some people will do almost anything to overcome feelings of loneliness and depression. But enjoying a new and loving relationship in later life does not mean you must sacrifice everything.
A Binding Financial Agreement ensures you do not throw the baby out with the bathwater in pursuit of a caring long term relationship.
If the new love of your life is reluctant to discuss these matters and seeks to exclude your family and friends then it might be time to take a step back and call timeout.
Please call and make a time to come in and see us to discuss further.