One of the biggest life decisions you’ll make will be who to spend the rest of your life with. We spend the better part of our youth not only figuring out ourselves but figuring out the kind of partner we want in life – someone who wants the same things we do out of life, and someone to hold our hand when that life gets tough.
Marriage is a serious, long-term commitment that comes with its own set of implications:
Before you have even set a date for the wedding, there are a few other areas to address before going ahead with your big day.
Prenuptial agreements, marriage agreements, premarital agreements – all of these terms sum up the written contract that a couple can enter into, which enables them to select and control many of the legal rights they acquire upon marrying, and what happens when their marriage ends by divorce and/or death. Couples enter into a written prenuptial agreement to supersede many of the default marital laws that would otherwise apply in the event of divorce, such as the laws that govern the division of property, retirement benefits, savings, and the right to seek alimony (spousal support) with agreed-upon terms that provide certainty and clarify their marital rights. A premarital agreement may also contain waivers of a surviving spouse's right to claim an elective share of the estate of the deceased spouse.
Although Prenuptial’s can be a sensitive subject to discuss – especially if one spouse has more wealth than the other before marriage – however, the earlier you can have this open conversation about money and planning for all possibilities, the more solid your foundation of marriage will become.
In Canada, prenuptial agreements are governed by provincial law. You can visit www.prenup.ca for a full list of Canadian provinces are their prenup governance.
When the big day is around the corner, there are a few things you may want to plan for and schedule so nothing catches you and your spouse-to-be off guard.
Wills, Power of Attorney and Personal Directives are important to deal with shortly after you are married. Wills that are updated and reflect your most recent wishes will typically have you leaving your estate to your spouse, designated as a beneficiary. This allows a smoother transition of assets after death, and minimizes taxes on an estate. Your spouse may also become your person who will look after you if you aren’t able to care for yourself. Ensuring they are included in your Personal Directive or Power of Attorney plans will make the transition of care much easier for all parties involved.
As life waits for no one, and circumstances can change on a dime, ensure you have your appointment with your lawyer set up shortly after marriage.
Studies have shown that around 1/3 of divorced adults cited money as being a major factor in the separation. Working out finances is a challenging and huge hurdle to tackle, but with open communication and honesty,newlyweds have a better chance at finding some common ground with how to manage their money. There isn’t a best way to combine finances, there is just your way.
Not only will combining bank accounts make budgeting easier, it can make estate planning easier as well. Having money combined in a non-registered account can ease any money issues that may come up once you’ve passed on. Having money tied up in the estate process can cause significant financial stress for your partner at a time when stress should be minimized.
You can check out this link to read up on some ways you can combine finances.
You should also speak with your financial advisor and their team of professionals to get a holistic view on marriage and finances to ensure you get your happiest ever after!
The Biddle Johnston Wealth Management Team