Create a postnuptial agreement to protect your financial future

If you and your spouse find that your financial situation has changed after a couple of years of marriage and you do not have a prenup, it is wise to draft a postnuptial agreement to plan for your financial future. Bring it to the attention of your spouse and mutually decide on a plan that is in your family’s best interest. Make it appealing to each other by discussing what you would both want to include in the agreement. Remember to keep it light and entertaining, you are already married and know each other well, this is not a way to lay your ground rules to your marriage, it is simply a revision to your financial plan due to new circumstances.


Do

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  • discuss a postnup as soon as your financial situation changes
  • create financial assignments for each other
  • revisit old goals and adapt them for your current situation
  • put it in writing
  • make provisions for death of either party
Don't

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  • forget to look towards the future
  • think of a postnup like a prenup
  • think of it as a protection against divorce
  • consult with friends

Brenda B. Shapiro‘s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do discuss a postnup as soon as your financial situation changes

If your financial situation has changed since you first got married, because you now have children, purchased a house, have collected valuable items (i.e. art, cars, jewelry) open the discussion of drafting a postnup. You don’t want to fight over money and you want to map out how you will manage your new financial situation.

Do create financial assignments for each other

You should both be aware of the financial situation, at all times. There should not be any secrets regarding where you stand financially because that is when fights occur, and marriages end. Decide who will be responsible for what, including investments, savings, daily living expenses, etc. Divide up the tasks so the load doesn’t fall on one person and you both know exactly where you stand.

Do revisit old goals and adapt them for your current situation

Disclose with each other what your individual financial goals currently are and if they seem realistic, adapt them to be mutual goals. But if they are not realistic because of your current situation, discard them and establish attainable goals.

Do put it in writing

You can edit the postnup down the road, but don’t just talk about it, do it. Mutually agree on someone you trust to draft it. Ideally you should find a reputable attorney so it is legally binding.

Do make provisions for death of either party

Asses your insurance situation and make sure it is adequate when either you or your spouse dies. Agree on a plan together. Will it be term or full life? Talk to an insurance agent to discuss your options.


Brenda B. Shapiro‘s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not forget to look towards the future

Don’t make it a list of what your goals were. Instead, make it about what you want it to be. Create a new list of new goals, adapted to your new financial situation. Don’t get bogged down in the past and any goals you didn’t accomplish. Look toward the future.

Do not think of a postnup like a prenup

You are already married, you know each other and what you both want. The timeframe is key. Don’t get a postnup before you have been married for three to five years. There is usually not a significant financial change before then.

Do not think of it as a protection against divorce

A postnup isn’t about protecting yourself if you happen to get a divorce. Think of it as a financial plan moving forward.

Do not consult with friends

Consult with experts instead of friends, because experts will give you honest, educated advice. Friends will tell you stories about people they know who have a postnup and how they did it. They will fill your head with unrealistic expectations. This is a good rule of thumb for anything regarding your finances, or anything legal for that matter.


Summary

When bringing up the topic of getting a postnup, always remember that this is a financial plan for your future; to protect the finances you and your spouse have acquired since being married. Always make your plan together and discuss what you both mutually want to include. Do not keep any financial secrets from each other because surprises lead to arguments, making the discussion of a postnup change directions, and neither of you will come to a clear and concise agreement.

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