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30 May 2018

Falling in love can happen at any age, including as we get older and supposedly wiser. Unlike marriage in your twenties and thirties, tying the knot after fifty may come with significant financial risk. So, if you are considering a mature age marriage, give thought to the financial implications and check our tips below on how to avoid some of the risks.

  1. Is each partner prepared to care for the other if they suffer ill health, dementia, incapacity – especially if there is a big age difference between the partners or existing health issues;
  2. What is the attitude of each partner’s family towards the union? Has the relationship caused estrangement or is there any existing estrangement of family members that could put strain on the new relationship? This could also raise issues regarding challenges to Wills and Family Provision Act claims by estranged family members;
  3. Married couples and de-facto partners have certain rights under the Guardianship & Administration Act to make medical decisions for each other. They may “push” the adult children out of the pecking order for who can make these decisions;
  4. Married and de-facto couples can make claims to superannuation (and life insurance held by super funds) of a deceased spouse of partner, unless there are valid binding death benefits nominations in place;
  5. Marriage and divorce revoke previous Wills, unless made in contemplation of marriage or divorce. This can be a disaster for families where a parent has died having married or divorced without updating their Wills – particularly for older couples where there may be considerable wealth involved;
  6. Divorce doesn’t revoke an enduring power of attorney or enduring power of guardianship – so you may have a ex partner still appointed as your attorney or guardian and able to make your financial and medical decisions in the event of incapacity, even if you have re-partnered;
  7. Divorce doesn’t automatically remove an ex-partner as an appointer and guardian of a trust;
  8. Moral of the story; if you are going to re-partner later in life, make sure you have your estate planning documentation in order.

JANENE BON 

This is general information only and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you are concerned for yourself or a member of the community, please contact HHG Legal Group on we.help.people@hhg.com.au to book a 15 minute appointment at our free legal assistance clinics.

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