As the divorce rate among older couples has more than doubled among Americans over 50 (according to a Pew Research study), so too have the number of seniors getting remarried.
With many older couples having more assets, looming retirement and just a few years left in the workforce, premarital agreements for seniors are becoming increasingly popular.
As our East Brunswick premarital agreement attorneys can explain, premarital agreements (also known as prenuptial agreements) are no longer as stigmatized as they once were. These contracts are no longer considered merely a fussy ordeal for the wealthy or the height of insult with insinuation the union is likely someday to end.
Instead, many have come to think of it like insurance. You wouldn’t dream of purchasing a car without car insurance or a home without homeowners’ insurance. That doesn’t mean you’re expecting to crash your car or lose your home in a fire – but the insurance protects you just in case.
For older couples, coming to the marriage having already lived half a life, there is often more at stake. One doesn’t need to be wealthy to see the value of protecting your financial future.
Special Considerations for Older Clients
There are some special considerations for premarital agreements where older clients are involved. For example, marriage might have an impact on one’s Social Security benefits, Medicare eligibility, liability for medical expenses and debts, former spouse obligations (alimony, etc.), tax filing considerations and credit history.
With younger couples, there may be pressure for a premarital agreement from the betrotheds’ parents. Seniors, alternatively, may feel some pressure from their adult children, concerned about their parent’s financial comfort during their golden years, as well as their own inheritance.
It’s imperative that your New Jersey family law attorney carefully consider health and capacity when drafting premarital agreements for older clients because that can be a key provision on which these contracts are later challenged.
Per the New Jersey Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, premarital agreements can be successfully challenged if it’s proven one or both parties lacked the mental fitness to fully understand the terms of the agreement before they signed. Of course, mental capacity isn’t solely an issue associated with age, but it arises more frequently with elderly clients. Your lawyer may take extra precautions, such as factual recitals or videotaping execution of the agreement, so that it’s clear upon future review that all parties were of sound mind and participating voluntarily.
Provisions on Death in Premarital Agreements
Many folks marrying or remarrying at an older age may have children from prior relationships. It’s understandable that a person would want to ensure heirs as well as spouses will be cared for in the event of their death. A verbal promise that, “I’ll take care of you,” won’t be enough.
Most people want to avoid probate and estate taxes if they can, so discussing this with your estate planning lawyer is important too. But provisions on allocation of assets, retirement accounts and trusts between a new spouse and adult children upon one’s death can be included in the premarital agreement too. This is important because unlike estate plans, premarital agreements can’t be changed at any time without warning.
A premarital agreement can help solidify your carefully drafted estate plan, so the two can be consistent.
To learn more about New Jersey premarital agreements, contact Rozin | Golinder Law today at (732) 810-0034.