Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Is marriage a dumb move?

I suppose many of us ask this question but that is actually the title of an article in Money Magazine. The following is from a sidebar to the article. I could not agree with anything more than I do the first sentence:

Nothing kills romance like the words "my attorney." But you can't ignore what's at stake. The legal documents you'll need:

If you're getting married
Consider a prenuptial agreement, especially if you want to earmark assets for your children from a previous marriage. It will spell out how your money and property will be distributed when the marriage ends (either by divorce or death).
If you're not
You'll want to have what's called a "living-together agreement." Similar to a prenup, it specifies who owns what, which expenses and assets you'll share and what happens if you separate. Also, have a lawyer draft health-care proxies, HIPAA privacy waivers and medical powers of attorney, which will let you make health-care decisions on each other's behalf and give you rights such as hospital visitation.
No matter what
Update your wills, beneficiary designations on retirement and brokerage accounts, insurance policies and titles on your house and cars if you are fully merging your assets.
The main article deals with a situation of two people marrying late in life with assets to consider. Call it a case study.

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