Soon-to-be-married teacher needs to protect her assets

Helen, age 55, is confused. She is planning to marry a 68-year-old man within a few months. She's aware that he may die before her and she wants to be protected financially.

Helen said, "I am not greedy or selfish, however, I must think about myself and my years of old age. I have to be assured that I will have enough money to be comfortable and not worry about finances."

Helen raises a question that all couples who meet later in life need to address, and not just couples who plan to marry, but couples who co-habitate as well.

Helen explained why she will continue working: "I did not work for 12 years during my marriage due to staying at home with my children. Therefore, I will not be able to retire until much later than most of my peers. Even then, my retirement will not be very much since I am a public school teacher."

She also stated: "My future spouse has one son and two granddaughters. He has specified that he wants the granddaughters to get part of his retirement as well as his son. He also wants his son to get some mountain property that is used for hunting and is worth quite a bit of money. I totally agree with that as that hunting property is very special to him.

"I own my own home plus still have a house for sale that is my ex-husband's and mine... market is very bad, as you know. He wants our home to be in my name only. I don't think there will be a mortgage if we buy a home together... I'll sell mine, he's selling his...will be able to pay cash and it will be mine.

"I'm confused how to go about this and very concerned about what to do. I love the man for himself, not for his money; however, I must protect my future. What do you think?"

I replied, "You asked a question that I'm not qualified to answer. You absolutely need to consult with a certified financial planner, CPA, and/or lawyer.

"You are 100 percent correct being concerned about your financial future. You must pin down how that is going to be accomplished before you get married. Also, don't purchase a home until the others are sold, which may take a while in this economy.

"It sounds like your fiancé's son and granddaughters are going to get a big cut of his estate. What would that leave for you? Statistically, he will likely pass before you. Also, the financial plan must address major medical expenses in case either of you becomes ill.

"Be sure you protect your assets so no member of his family can attack them.

"The most valuable advice I can give? Consult the experts. Don't marry until this is buttoned down and airtight, so you are covered for any eventuality that may arise."

© 2010, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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