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Protecting your children's inheritances when you remarry

We all want our divorced or widowed parents to find love again, particularly as they get into their later years. However, when they decide to remarry, as more and more seniors are, adult children often become concerned about what that will mean for their inheritance.

Sadly, older couples often decide not to marry because their adult children are concerned that the new spouse will get everything and share nothing with them. They may even believe that this is true.

No matter how long a couple may have lived together, if they aren't married, when one dies, the other likely won't inherit anything if there's no estate plan in place. Surviving children would have priority, followed by other biological family, under the laws in inheritance.

However, concerns about adult children's inheritances shouldn't stop any couple from marrying. With a will and a prenuptial agreement (both wise choices for anyone getting married later in life), you can stipulate how your assets will be disbursed after your death.

There are still practical and financial reasons why it's better to remain unwed, In fact, the number of couples over 50 who are choosing to live together without getting married has grown by 75 percent over approximately the last decade.

However, no couple who wants to wed should stay unmarried because of concerns about inheritances. By having everything properly codified in a prenup and your estate plan, you can ensure that your children get the assets you want to leave them and that your spouse will be taken care of as well if you die first. This planning can also help your children and spouse build a good relationship.

Source: The New York Times, "When Your Parents Remarry, Everyone Is Happy, Right?," Tammy LaGorce, March 22, 2018

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