Last week, we discussed some of the issues raised in an article from Kiplinger.com that examined the pros and cons of getting married later in life. If you and your love are over 50 and are trying to decide between cohabitation and marriage, there is a lot to consider. While it may not be romantic, you may avoid all kinds of heartbreak and financial woes if you do some financial planning and estate planning before you merge lives.
The costs of working with a lawyer to draft agreements before cohabitation or marriage can save you later on. You probably knew that a cohabitation agreement can outline who will pay what costs to buy a home but you may not have known that you can use such an agreement to cover the finer points of living together like utilities and even groceries.
Kiplinger.com spoke with Frederick Hertz, a lawyer who suggested that each partner use his or her own lawyer to draft these agreements. Hertz also advised people to involve their children because while, “I can write an agreement that I am sure will survive a legal challenge, but surviving a legal challenge sometimes means five years and $100,000 in fees,” Hertz says. “I want to have an agreement that avoids a legal challenge, not survives it.”
Older couples who own homes have to think about what will happen to that property when one (or both) of them dies or moves into a nursing home. Again, an attorney can help you sort out these issues and craft agreements to cover various scenarios: for example, allowing the surviving partner to stay in the home and still have it pass to the other partner’s children once both partners have died.
While you will need legal counsel to draft the agreements mentioned above, a financial expert’s perspective can inform some of your decisions as you sort out financial and estate planning concerns so you can allocate your resources as you wish.