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Marriage Second Time Around and your Finances

marriage proposal for second marriage

by Sarah Pennells

It may be a second marriage for one or both of you, but it’s still the start of a new life together. This time round you’re a little older and a lot wiser; you know yourself better and understand where you’re prepared to compromise and where you won’t. You’re also likely to be wealthier in your own right and that means you have to think about how getting married may affect your finances.

Sorting Out Your Will if you Remarry

Many people put off sorting out a will but it’s vital that you draw up a new one if you remarry. Many people – wrongly – believe that divorce invalidates a will. It doesn’t, but getting married does.

If you already have a will: if your will was drawn up before you remarried it will be invalid unless you knew you were going to get married at the time and it contains a clause stating that it should be valid after your marriage (this doesn’t apply in Scotland, where getting married doesn’t invalidate a will ).

If you don’t have a will: if you don’t have a will your estate – the money, property and possessions you leave behind – will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. In England and Wales, your husband or civil partner would receive up to  £450,000 if you don’t have a will and there are no children – or up to £250,000 if you have children – but the rest is distributed to other family members. In Scotland, your husband or civil partner would receive the first £300,000, plus some money and furniture.

 Sorting out life insurance when you marry for the second time

If you’re getting married for the second time you may already have some life insurance. Joint policies aren’t generally the best idea because they can’t be divided if you split up and they only pay out on the first death, which leaves the surviving partner with no life insurance.

Maintenance payments when you remarry

If you were receiving maintenance payments from your ex husband, they will stop when you remarry, but that’s not the case with child support says David Allison, chairman of the family lawyers group Resolution. “Child support is unaffected by remarriage but maintenance payments will cease.  It can happen when couples live together as well, but it’s definitely not as cut and dried.”

 Should prenuptial agreements be considered

couple remarrying discussing pre-nup

Sorting out an agreement that will spell out who gets what if you split up probably isn’t your priority when you’re about to remarry. But, according to David Allison, an increasing number of couples who aren’t particularly wealthy consider pre-nups when they are on their second marriage.
Pre-nups aren’t binding in England and Wales, however, courts do take account of them and in Scotland they are seen as legally binding. 

Pensions and how they are affected by remarriage

If you’re a member of a company pension scheme – or your husband to be is – make sure you change the ‘nominated beneficiary’. This is the person who receives any death benefits if the member of the pension scheme dies.

By law you’re allowed to use your husband or ex-husband’s national insurance record for your state pension if you’d end up with a higher pension as a result.
However, you lose that right if you remarry before you reach state retirement age.  Get a forecast of the state pension you’d receive based on your own NI contributions.

Buying property together

buying a house when you remarryMany couples who remarry already own their own property. It might make financial sense to sell up and to pool your money, but think about how you will finance your new home.  If one of you puts in a much larger amount than the other, it may be worth reflecting that in the way the property is owned. If you own your home as tenants in common (rather than the traditional way, which is as joint tenants), you can draw up a written document – called a deed of trust – that spells out the share in the property each of you owns.

Sarah Pennells

Sarah is the founder of SavvyWoman.co.uk, a website aimed at smart women aged 30+ who want to get more from their money. Sarah is a personal finance journalist and author who has written three books; about money and relationships, divorce and finance and green and ethical money. Sarah regularly appears on BBC1's Breakfast programme as a finance expert and reported on consumer and finance issues on the programme for several years. She also writes for a number of women's magazines. www.savvywoman.co.uk

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  1. Lynne Butler

    May 23, 2012

    Great article! It’s really important that people think of finances in depth before a second marriage and articles like this go a long way to inform people of what to look for. Failure to deal with these matters usually results in family disputes, though the disputes may not get vicious until after the newlyweds have passed away.


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