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    Tying the knot raises multiple financial issues

    Decisions regarding joint vs. separate accounts, wills, power of attorney must be made

     

    Next, sit down and make financial goals as a couple. Start by creating an annual budget, as well as a contingency plan in case a spouse gets laid off or becomes disabled. Make sure you have an emergency cash reserve equal to several months of income. Designate who will be responsible for paying the bills and reconciling the checkbook. Also look beyond your current financial situation. For example, discuss what you envision your retirement will look like, and whether current retirement account contributions are sufficient to achieve your long-term goals.

    Also see: How a second marriage affects estate planning

    While it seems a bit unromantic, you will also need to update your wills and power of attorney documents. An estate planning adviser can discuss the full array of estate planning tools, such as various trusts, that might be relevant once you're married.

    People who have been previously married bring additional financial issues to the table, especially if they have children or are required to pay alimony, child support, or insurance premiums under the terms of a divorce settlement agreement. Also consider whether your remarriage will nullify any entitlements to assets from a former spouse. For example, getting remarried could invalidate your right to claim an inheritance or other financial interest. Meet with your advisers to address these issues whenever you are considering blending your finances.

    Recommended: Health savings account provides triple tax benefit

    Remember that whether it's your first time down the aisle, or not, marriage is a celebration. Don't let all of the financial and administrative details that go along with your special day spoil it. Meet with your financial, tax, and legal advisers to establish a budget and tackle other financial and legal issues head-on. A little planning on the front end can alleviate stress well beyond the wedding day.

    Next: What is a trust?

    Joel M. Blau, CFP
    Mr. Blau is chief executive officer of MEDIQUS Asset Advisors, Inc., in Chicago. He can be reached at 800-883-8555 or [email protected]
    Ronald J. Paprocki, JD, CFP, CHBC
    Mr. Paprocki is chief executive officer of MEDIQUS Asset Advisors, Inc. in Chicago.

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