Know Your Family Finances … Before It’s Too Late, Due to Death, Illness or Divorce

All too often, one spouse knows virtually nothing about the family’s financial picture.

Even if the other spouse “takes care of” or “handles” all of that sort of thing with only the very best of intentions, this is a dangerous situation for the coddled spouse.

Never mind the possibility of divorce, for a moment.

What if the financial-caretaking spouse unexpectedly dies? Or suffers a devastating, incapacitating injury or illness?

How will the healthy spouse figure out and pick up the pieces, and manage the situation for the family, even on a temporary basis?

And if either spouse decides to divorce, best intentions may fly out the window.

The coddled spouse is at a severe disadvantage in determining and weighing their courses of action and options.

Depending on the particular circumstances of the case, they may have guaranteed that obtaining full and fair disclosure will be far more time-consuming and expensive than it has to be. And it is so unnecessary.

The coddled spouse is entitled to know about the family finances. And should, for the sake of all concerned, including the couple’s children.

A spouse who refuses to see that and insists upon maintaining total financial secrecy is raising a big red flag. And that should inspire the coddled spouse to take remedial action … and to educate him or herself by consulting an attorney.

Read more in this Wall Street Journal piece: VOICES: Leslie Thompson, On the Uninformed Spouse.

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Sue That Homewrecker!?

Husband and Mistress are having an affair.

Husband and Wife’s marriage is breaking down.

Wife finds out about affair.

Wife wants to sue Mistress for wrecking her marriage.

Can she?

This question is popping up with greater frequency lately.

The answer depends on the state where the involved parties live.

But here in Florida the answer is no.

This civil claim was abolished by statute years ago.

By way of consolation, even if the claim still existed, it would be pretty tough to prove causation of damages.

The challenge: Which came first? The breakdown of the marriage or the affair?

Read more in this [Torrance, CA] Daily Breeze column: ASK THE LAWYER: Suing the ‘other woman,’ support obligations, and who gets the dog.

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Alternatives to a Prenuptial Agreement or Prenup

Fiance is in a romantic haze. Not thinking prenup.

Or thinking prenup but unwilling to broach the subject with his or her significant other.

What to do?

Well, one way to avoid having to talk with the intended spouse about this possibly unpleasant subject is to simply take unilateral premarital action.

And set up a trust.

A properly drawn – and properly funded – trust can protect a person from themself.

That includes the spouse they may choose in the event that things don’t work out (or, even if they do).

And the creditors they may become indebted to.

Although more expensive than a prenup, a trust offers certain advantages, such as privacy and autonomy.

In fact, in many situations, a trust is desirable even when there is a prenuptial agreement.

Read more in this Financial Advisor magazine article: Shielding An Estate From Unloved In-Laws.

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