First, congratulations. We love helping families who are coming together. In addition to some of the emotional implications that make come along with blending your family, it is also important to get your financial arrangements in order. Here are some top suggestions before you tie the knot:
Communicate: The most important consideration is open and honest communication about your wishes while property planning for your future. Many couples (and families) benefit from knowing that they all agree, or at a minimum will not be surprised by, important financial decisions. Early discussions about important financial topics may help reduce conflict. Minimizing disagreement upfront also reduces disputes over these financial issues and can greatly ease future legal costs, a savings to everyone involved.
Consider a Pre-nuptial: A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by a couple before marriage. The pre-nup spells out the property rights of one or both parties involved in the case of death or divorce. A pre-nuptial agreement can be particularly important in blended families, to spell out exactly how you would like your assets to be split between your new spouse and prior (or future) children. To ensure enforceability, you will need to meet with your family law attorney to discuss your options.
Beneficiaries: Remember to update beneficiaries for your policies, such as insurance and retirement accounts. You may need or want multiple primary beneficiaries; such as your new spouse and your children sharing equally; or just one primary beneficiary, with assets going to your child or your new spouse.
Consider an Estate Planning Attorney: You may wish to speak with an estate planning attorney to help in drafting new wills, or in the creation of a living trust. An estate planning attorney will be able to review the various tax consequences of your financial arrangements and help you to create the best plan that works for you.
For assistance establishing a prenuptial agreement speak with one of our Washington State Family Law Attorneys at Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC. We provide free consultations to help get you started with planning your prenup today.