With marriage rates in America dropping by 60% in the last 50 years, you might find it surprising that remarriage rates even register. However, there is a notable percentage of people who will remarry within five years of losing a spouse. Depending on the age of the widow or widower, anywhere from 29-67% of previously married people will remarry.
That can often put adult children in a defensive stance of protecting their parent’s assets when new love comes calling. When Greg posted a similar predicament online, he was hopeful that others had advice on how to help his mother protect her wealth without upsetting her new boyfriend.
Cancer, Finances, and Documentation
Thankfully, Greg’s parents had time to get their finances in order before his dad passed away. His mother, Alicia, owns stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and annuities. She’s also intelligent enough to have made a trust that takes care of her home and vehicles and has made up end-of-life paperwork for her children for her assets and her medical care should she become incapacitated.
She also understands that her husband’s hard work has set her up nicely, and she wants to keep her finances separate from her new beau, should they decide to marry. Adam, Alicia’s new guy, isn’t financially as well off. He wants his daughter to take over his mortgage payments, and then he’ll move in with Alicia. She doesn’t want his six children or 27 grandchildren to have any access to her money, and Greg is concerned because his mother tends to fall for scams easily.
Several people suggested that Alicia draw up a prenuptial agreement that explicitly protects her liquid and other financial assets. These documents are designed for instances when one spouse is financially well-off and the other might struggle.
One person shared an old saying their grandmother used to quote frequently. “All an old man wants is a nurse or a purse.” It can be true that older gentlemen want someone to tend to them, and not many men will turn down a sugar mama if they can find one.
One person who’s been down Greg’s road suggested he get a background check on Adam to ensure he knows everything about his financial standings and what he owes in debt. Having this knowledge before his mother says “I do” can save a lot of headaches and heartbreak down the road.
One individual suggests that Alicia update her will to bypass her new husband and his descendants altogether. Then they also indicated that the prenup dictate everything from paying household expenses to how long Adam can stay in her home if she dies before him. Prenups are meant to protect both parties involved and can be notoriously specific.
Someone warned Greg about his mother gifting large amounts of cash or personal belongings to Greg, and another suggested that as an administrator of her Trust, he should be able to keep a good eye on what she’s spending.
Greg mentioned that his mother is very religious and won’t cohabitate with Adam until after their wedding. One respondent asked if she’d go for the glitz without the documentation. Because Alicia is a staunch believer, I don’t think Greg could sell the idea of not making it legal, but it’s worth a shot.
Things get complicated where social security and survivor benefits come in. If Alicia collects her husband’s social security and then ceremonially marries Adam, she’d commit fraud if she kept collecting her first husband’s benefits. This situation is something Greg should undoubtedly let her know.
Not only should Alicia know where her legal documents are, but Greg should also have certified copies of all her legal documentation. If Adam ever tried to hide, destroy, or alter them, Greg would have an untouched set of his own.
Tricky and Sticky
Remarriage can be excellent for those who are lonely and find someone to love after losing a spouse. But they can also wreak financial havoc if Alicia doesn’t cover every base—best of luck to Greg and Alicia as they navigate these sticky waters.
Rebecca Holcomb is an experienced content creator and journalist with over a decade of experience. She currently covers trending topics for Wealth of Geeks with a strong focus on Lifestyle, Food, and Travel. Rebecca also holds a social media marketing certification from Coursera for Facebook (Meta).