People are happy to spend hours and often, incomprehensible sums of money planning weddings, but when it comes to financial planning, they are “too busy.” Advance planning helps couples as they make the transition from giddy romantics to a financial and legally-bound partnership dealing with the realities of adult life. Working with trusted advisors, including financial advisors, estate planning attorneys and CPAs, helps the soon-to-be-wed couple clarify their goals and plan the big picture: their life together.
Financial planning should be a part of every couple’s wedding planning, whether they are just starting out or if they are coming to the marriage with substantial assets. When the couples are not economic equals, this becomes even more important. In “When financial planning meets wedding planning” from Reuters, experts advise couples to work with an estate planning attorney and financial advisor to objectively evaluate assets, review insurance coverage, discuss retirement goals and analyze estate plans already in place. This should take place before the wedding to prevent larger problems later on. Questions to ask:
- Who is going to pay the bills?
- How will you plan for big purchases?
- When are you planning to retire and where?
- If there are children from a previous marriage, how will inheritances be handled?
If the couple has two advisers or attorneys, things can get overly complicated, so it is best if the couple can agree to work with one advisor or attorney.
Then there is the sensitive issue of a pre-nuptial agreement, which is typically easier to do with those on their second marriage. If you are younger, childless, and in love, you may believe that it’s not necessary. Talk to your estate planning attorney about the benefits of having this, and then think about it.
Whatever the decision is on the pre-nup, make sure you talk to the estate planning attorney about updating or creating your estate plans. Couples should go to that meeting with printouts of all of their financial statements and insurance coverage.
Finally, after the wedding, update beneficiary information. This will include insurance and retirement plans. If a spouse has changed his or her name, your attorney can help you update your social security card, credit cards, and passport.
An estate planning attorney can help with these questions and issues, and working in tandem with your financial advisor, create a sound plan for your future together.