Benefits of a prenup for senior marriage

When a parent or older loved one has a romantic partner, he or she may pursue marriage. Seniors have special considerations when it comes to making this legal arrangement with a new partner, including retirement, health care and estate planning. 

Encourage your family member to consider these benefits of a prenup before marrying in his or her 70s, 80s or older. 

Retaining control over assets 

If your parent marries, his or her new spouse may receive a significant portion of the estate upon death or divorce in the absence of legal documentation such as a will or prenup. Having a prenuptial agreement allows your parent to protect property that he or she wishes to keep in the family. This type of agreement also makes sense when your parent owns a business or has already seen the financial effects of at least one previous divorce. With a prenuptial agreement, both parties can waive the right to collect spousal support or divide property in a divorce. 

Maintaining separate legal obligations 

In most states, including Florida, property and debts accrued during the marriage belong to both parties. A prenuptial agreement can protect both spouses from becoming legally responsible for debts in the other spouse’s name. They can also use this document to retain separate property that would otherwise become community property after marriage, such as equity in a home. Either or both spouses can waive their rights to the other’s retirement or pension plan in the event of divorce. 

Ideally, you should start the conversation about a prenuptial agreement with your parent early on in a new relationship. This can provide an opportunity to make sure that the new partners are on the same page when it comes to finances. However, when the marriage occurs without much advance notice and without a prenuptial agreement, the couple can opt to document their wishes in a postnuptial agreement at a later date. 

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