Marriage remains attractive amongst some of those enjoying later life. The recent wedding of 84-year-old media mogul Rupert Murdoch and 59-year-old actress-model Jerry Hall demonstrates that you're never to old to get hitched.
People in their 50s, 60s and even beyond still decide to tie the knot, sometimes for the second or third time. They might want more from their retirement, be encouraged by increasing life expectancy, or feel confident in view of their own financial independence.
Here are five tips for those of you thinking about getting married in later life:
1. Work together
There is much to be said for planning practical and financial matters together. This is especially important for those who are marrying later in life, who have their own homes, own investments, own income and are used to financial independence.
Common issues to address include living arrangements and who is to pay for what. This will ensure the marriage gets off smoothly and on a level playing field, with both of you being involved in decisions and having a say.
2. Be open
Do not keep secrets – either from each other or your families. Talk through any concerns you may have about entering into the marriage, especially if you have been married before.
Talk to your families to address any concerns they may have about your decision to marry. It’s not uncommon for relatives of those who have decided to marry in later life to question the motives of one or both of those in the relationship. Concerns about financial matters are the usual source of worry, especially amongst children.
Explain to your children why you have decided to take this step and how you envisage this impacting on them. Emphasise the positives to come from you being in a happy and secure relationship and the expansion to your family. Talk them through any arrangements you have put in place in relation to your finances, especially if they are concerned about your finances.
Another concern may be about your emotional wellbeing, so again some reassurance about this from you should help ease any concerns they have.
3. Consider a prenup
As unromantic as it may sound, spending some time planning what is to happen if it does not all work out could prevent a lot of upset and legal costs should the worst happen.
Those marrying for the second or third time are more likely to see the value of entering into a prenuptial agreement. Similarly, those with their own house and money have assets they may want to protect. It is a useful form of financial planning.
By setting out your rights to property, assets and income with a prenuptial agreement, you create a legal document the court must consider in deciding your finances on divorce.
Rupert Murdoch is known to have entered into a prenuptial agreement with his previous wife Wendi Deng. It’s expected that he and Jerry Hall will do likewise.
4. Estate planning and creating trusts
Rupert Murdoch put shares in trust for his children on his marriage to his previous wife. This is a way to arrange your finances to try and avoid areas of dispute in years to come should the relationship break down.
Trusts are an important tool in estate planning. In their simplest form they can be a way of setting money aside for a third party, but with more flexibility – and sometimes control – than an outright gift.
5. Enjoy it!
Getting married is one of life’s most cherished moments. A wedding is a wonderful occasion. The union of two families is something to be enjoyed.
Do not feel guilty if the initial reaction from friends or relatives is not positive, or if they express reservations. Explaining you have made plans with your partner, and put in place mechanisms to give financial protection should the relationship break down, should ease any concerns they have.
Claire Reid is a senior family and divorce lawyer at Slater and Gordon. She works from the Newcastle and Manchester offices handling relationship breakdowns with sensitivity.
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If you are interested in entering into a prenuptial agreement call the expert family solicitors at Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will be happy to talk you through your options.