At one time, the idea that someone would enter into a marriage with a predetermined decision of how to handle finances in the event of a divorce was thought of as both unromantic and tacky. But although seniors may be madly in love with the person they want to marry, with a bit more life experience they realize there is more at stake that they need to protect.
One of the key issues is property division. It is not unusual for seniors to have their own property paid for that they plan to leave to their children or grandchildren. They may also have a good deal of personal heirlooms they want to pass on to a biological family member. Without a prenuptial agreement, such property could go to the new spouse in the event of divorce or death. The marriage itself can even override a will in many cases.
In addition to things like homes or home equity and heirlooms, there may be retirement accounts, or even lifetime savings accounts that many have assumed would go to children or grandchildren. Even if the people getting married are the same age, there can be a large gap when it comes to comparing the net worth of persons in their 50s or older.
Sitting down with an attorney and discussing what should happen in the event of a divorce, or even death, is a good way for everyone to get what they need and to avoid a lot of heartbreak and confusion later on. For those couples who didn't think to plan this out before marriage, family law attorneys can also help them put together a postnuptial agreement that will clarify each person's financial intentions.
If seniors are about to enter into a marriage, they should certainly be able to understand that their partner has made some decisions regarding their assets before they and their partner even met. The two may be entering into a new life together, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't protect certain life plans that they had before.
Source: Fifty Plus Advocates, "How essential are prenuptial agreements for seniors?" Linda T. Cammuso, May 3, 2012