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The connection between prenups and estate planning

Last week we talked about the importance of understanding the legalities of alimony when you are planning to end a marriage. This week, we're looking at the importance of the prenuptial agreement when you plan on starting a new marriage, especially when you do so later in life.

Finding new love in golden years is wonderful, but it can lead to some complexities. At this stage of life, you've likely accumulated some assets and properties. You might have children from a previous marriage -- you might even have adult children and grandchildren. If you've already created an estate plan, you might have made promises to all of these heirs.

All of these facts can complicate your new romance. How does the new significant other change your estate plans, and what will your children or other heirs think of this? Does your new love interest have assets of his or her own? Does he or she have children and heirs too? All of these questions lead to the consideration of a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement can help protect and provide for everyone. When most people think of prenuptial agreements, they think about one person keeping assets from another. But a prenup can also ensure someone receives assets, too. Using a prenup, you could ensure your new spouse is provided for and protect some of your assets for other heirs.

A prenup might also help ease your new romantic interest into the family. With a prenup, your existing heirs might not feel as threatened by the newest family member.

When using a prenup in this manner, it's important that it works together with your other estate plans. In fact, when your marital status changes in any way, it's probably time to work with a legal professional to update your estate plans.

Source: The Spectrum, "‘Prenups’ important in estate planning," Bo Bingham, accessed Nov. 27, 2015

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