Tying the Knot: Do You Need a Prenup?

By: Jody Smith

Does getting a prenuptial agreement mean that one partner does not trust the other, or that the marriage is expected to fail? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.

Not everyone needs a prenuptial agreement. But there are some circumstances that can make a prenup a wise choice. If you are over the age of fifty, and if you have more money and assets than your partner, you might consider a prenup.

A prenuptial agreement can protect your life's savings and retirement funds if things go south. Your home equity and your profits and even ownership of a business can be protected by a prenup. If you have money that came from an inheritance or a divorce settlement, a prenuptial agreement may be a good idea.

There are circumstances where neither you nor your partner has much greater funds and assets than the other. But if either or both of you have individual goals for retirement, for your families' inheritance or for any long-term care costs, a prenup can simplify things.

Essentially a prenup is a contract that attests that all of a woman's assets will remain her own, and all of a man's assets will remain his own as well, in the case of a divorce. In the case of the death of the man or woman, each partner's assets will stay with their own heirs. It is important to note, however, that according to federal law, all of a married couple's assets are calculated to determine eligibility for Medicare, if either partner needs to move into a nursing home.

A marriage between seniors can bring more dimensions in terms of assets to the marital table than the union of a younger couple. You will both have lived many years of adult life by this juncture, and you may both have substantial assets and possibly many heirs.

You may each have retirement savings, investments and other types of savings. And you may have different levels of debt that you carry. These circumstances means you may each have more to lose than younger partners if the marriage should end. A prenup can make sure that your assets will be divided up the way you want them to be, including your heirs as you desire.

You should have your own lawyer who is well-versed in prenups and estate planning, and so should your mate. If you are already married and are wishing that you had gone for a prenup, it's not too late. An attorney can help you formulate a postnuptial agreement to suit your needs.

Bringing up the subject of a prenuptial agreement may or may not cause friction between you and your partner. It may be worth uncomfortable moments though, since it can help both partners have a clear picture of the financial lay of the land, and can bring peace of mind to both partners.

Jody Smith is a freelance writer for Empowher.com.

Sources:

How essential are prenuptial agreements for seniors?

http://fiftyplusadvocate.com/archives/6209

Prenuptial agreements will not protect couples assets from paying for nursing home care

http://thedailysentinel.com/lifestyle/seniors/article_a41567a6-6492-11e0-a079-001cc4c03286.html

Getting Married Later in Life: Should You Have a Prenup?

http://www.housingforseniors.com/Articles/Getting-Married-Later-in-Life--Should-You-Have-a-Prenup--326.html

Related Links:

Divorce-Proof Your Marriage: Advice from Divorce Court Judge Lynn Toler

http://www.empowher.com/relationships-amp-family/content/divorce-proof-your-marriage-advice-divorce-court-judge-lynn-toler

The Emotional Aftermath of a Broken Marriage

http://www.empowher.com/emotional-health/content/emotional-aftermath-broken-marriage

Baby Boomers and Divorce

http://www.empowher.com/sex-amp-relationships/content/baby-boomers-and-divorce

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