Remarriage in retirement: Things to consider

Remarrying during your retirement years can impact your family and financial situation in ways you may not have anticipated.

Consider the following as you determine whether marriage or common-law living is the right step for you and your partner.

Define the union
As wonderful and exciting as “love” can be, be prepared to ask yourself and your partner some tough questions. Should you marry or live in a common–law union? Your decision will impact many things, including your family and current finances.

Consider a prenuptial agreement
A previous marriage can carry a long-standing obligation such as alimony, spousal support payments, or care of a dependent child; your partner may have obligations too. Prenuptial agreements can cover much more than just financial issues. To help protect each other, you may arrange a prenuptial agreement that covers off every item you wish to protect or restrict.

Get it in writing
As with all contractual arrangements, written, signed and witnessed documentation is the best way to protect yourself and ensure your legal rights. Having a written document on hand can save you much grief later on should your partner pass away and/or claims are made against your assets. You should consult with a qualified lawyer about what documentation you may require.

Discuss your assets
Decide what assets you will bring to the proposed union and decide from the onset how you wish to deal with them. Where children and family are concerned, many couples keep their assets separate and apart; this arrangement may be effective, simple, and straight forward.

Relationship doesn’t have to mean property
Decide whether to keep any property you bring into the relationship separate and apart. Once you combine your property, such as your house, business interests or land, it becomes community property and will be shared by your new partner. This arrangement may have serious, long-term ramifications should the relationship dissolve or end.

Long-term care
If you have not already done so, make sure you have written provisions to provide for long-term care in the event you become permanently disabled and unable to look after yourself, as professional services can be costly.

Consider any impact on your federal and provincial benefits
Couples should be aware that their respective federal and provincial benefits may be impacted should they marry or declare a common law relationship. This can be complicated and, if in doubt, you should consult with a qualified expert.

Estate planning is a must
If you already have a legal will, getting married or living common-law may require you to draft a new one to accommodate the changes that occur as a result of having a new person in your life. This process will likely require special care – consideration and you should work with an estate lawyer directly before you tie the knot. Doing so will help ensure that your express wishes will be fulfilled once you’ve passed away.

We encourage clients to think about both the financial and non-financial aspects of retirement. This information is intended to provide you with a starting point for some of the things that you may wish to consider for your retirement. Upon reviewing this material, if you have any questions with regards to your specific personal situation we recommend seeking advice from your BMO financial professional.

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