What Questions to Ask before a Midlife Marriage?

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Midlife marriage
KS and MO Attorney Kyle E Krull

Written by Kyle Krull

Attorney & Counsellor at Law Kyle Krull is president of the Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull, P.A., an Estate Planning Law Firm located in Overland Park, KS. Estate Planning Attorney Kyle Krull has provided continuing education instruction to attorneys, accountants, and financial professionals at local, state, and national programs.

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POSTED ON: May 7, 2024

Getting married in midlife can be more complex financially than getting married directly after graduation.

Midlife marriages require a lot of financial coordination when merging lives after a decade or more of independence.

Gone are the days when most couples married right out of high school or college.

Many people are now tying the knot in their late twenties and early thirties after establishing their careers.

With more marriages ending in divorce, it is common for people to remarry in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

While couples starting their lives together with barely two pennies to rub together have stressors of making ends meet as they graduate from school, those getting married later in life have more complex individual assets to consider.

According to a recent Next Avenue article titled "The Talk Over-50s Should Have Before Tying the Knot," couples getting married in midlife must have more open and honest conversations about their financial statuses and retirement plans before marriage.

Midlife marriage can be complicated.

Having financial and estate planning conversations can make midlife marriages less stressful.

Each individual should share a complete account of their financial situation.

Are they bringing in debts?

What investments exist, and how are they managed?

Does one person have health issues?

If both people own homes, the couple must decide where to live and what to do with the other home.

Will they sell it or rent it?

If the property is sold, how will the proceeds be handled?

Will this person keep the money separate, buy into joint ownership of the other home, or share the income?

Because homes often have emotional attachments, this can be a challenging conversation and decision.

In addition to reviewing finances and retirement goals, one must review and update estate planning documents to address the legal changes attending marriage.

These include any general durable power of attorney, an advance health care directive, a last will and testaments, and a trust.

Do not forget beneficiary designations.

Yep, they should also be updated.

Because the beneficiary designations override the last will, this step is crucial.

Many spouses have been unpleasantly surprised when their spouse's ex inherits the life insurance policy.


Another important midlife marriage consideration is whether one or both spouses have children.

The couple needs to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a plan to provide for the new spouse and the children.

Couples may deceive to create and fund separate trusts before marriage to keep assets separated.

The type of trust used will depend on the family situation and goals.

A Spouse Limited Access Trust (SLAT) provides for a new spouse while protecting an inheritance for the biological children.

Family trusts allow the surviving spouse to move assets into a trust and allocate assets to heirs based on need.

Social Security is another crucial consideration in midlife or later marriages.

If one of the spouses was a widow, survivor benefits being received can be lost when remarried.

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is essential when preparing to merge two lives after decades of separate and independent living.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice concerning any particular issue or problem. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship between Harvest Law KC and the reader.

Reference: Next Avenue (March 14, 2024) "The Talk Over-50s Should Have Before Tying the Knot"

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