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Prenuptial Agreements & Second Marriages

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The United States is aging, and in many respects, Florida is leading the charge. The state is thought to have the highest percentage of residents over 65, and has one of the top median ages in the country. However, just because someone is no longer the youngest of the young does not mean they shun companionship, and indeed, many people marry a second or third time after the age of 60. However, second marriages can also be traps for the unwary, especially those who have accumulated wealth. It is in your best interests to execute a prenuptial agreement to protect both you and any children you may have.

Preserving Inheritances

By far the most common reason given for seniors to require a prenup for a second marriage is to preserve the inheritance rights of any children of their first marriage. Florida, among many other states, has fairly specific intestate laws which delineate who receives which assets of the decedent if no other disposition has been specified. A prenuptial agreement can help to clarify matters further, especially if there is still a possibility that children may be born of or adopted into the second marriage. Normally, the children of the decedent’s most recent marriage inherit first, but a prenuptial agreement may establish specific assets that you want preserved for specific people.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that there are limits on which rights and assets can be apportioned to children not yet born. Property law prohibits certain types of bequests, for example, to children whose life spans have not yet been determined, because to do so would invalidate the bequest due to vagueness. Most assets can be provided for, but there are some questions for which consulting an attorney is a good idea.

Potential Issues

Unlike younger couples, there are often roadblocks that may make senior citizens think twice about remarrying, and prenuptial agreements can help eliminate some of them. For example, many seniors have experienced ugly divorces by the time they are interested in second marriages, and it makes many gun shy about entering another relationship without some kind of legal safeguard. While many may see prenuptial agreements as unromantic or calculating, what they are in reality is practical.

A more tangible objection for many is that certain types of government benefits may be lost if they marry. The most common benefit that this may effect is Social Security retirement benefits, which can be drawn on a former spouse’s record if it is (1) better than the person’s; and (2) the person is single and divorced. The ability to draw such benefits disappears if someone remarries. If this is a severe problem for you, a cohabitation agreement may be a better option to ensure everyone in your life is provided for.

Contact A Knowledgeable Attorney

Everyone deserves happiness, regardless of age or finances. If you are planning a second marriage and have questions about prenuptial agreements, the Hollywood marriage and divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. may be able to assist you. Contact the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. for legal advice at 954-963-5900 or leave a message online.

Resource:

flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/732.103

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