Brought to you by: Community Partner Bradford & Holliman, www.bradfordholliman.com
Do you understand your finances? Here are four reasons to know your finances even if your spouse usually manages them.
1. Since women live longer than men and often have older spouses, women are likely to be the surviving spouses impacted by their husbands’ wills and property law.
2. Divorces trigger the division of assets. Overall, the divorce rate in the U.S. is falling, but the divorce rate of couples over 50+ is increasing, and that means there are more assets to divide.
3. If you are considering a second marriage and have children from your first marriage, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement and estate plan that protects those children’s inheritances. In the U.S., 19% are second marriages.
4. Setting up your estate plan so that both parties can manage affairs easily on their own when needed due to the incapacity or demise of one spouse.
Know how all your assets are titled. Your attorney needs to know how assets’ titles and beneficiaries to advise you for your estate plan. Individual ownership can be more advantageous than joint ownership due to direct gifts, grants, inheritances, and assets a spouse may have before marriage. But it was not always this way.
Did You Know? Women’s Rights Related to Assets Have Really Changed!
In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s take a quick view of how women’s rights relating to assets have improved:
- 1846- Women could own, but not control, property in their own names.
- 1849- Married women could own and manage property in their own names during the incapacity of their spouses.
- 1867- Married women were granted separate economy which meant they could have a separate estate.
- 1870- Women were no longer considered property of their husbands or fathers.
- 1960s- Women could open their own bank accounts.
- 1974- Women could have their own credit cards with no co-signers.
- 1974- Women could buy a house alone.
- 1981- For a husband to have sole control of marital property became unconstitutional by a U.S. Supreme Court case.
- 1981- Alabama’s intestate or probate law was changed to be gender neutral.
A couple’s finances require day-to-day management, long-term strategic plans, and estate plans. You and your spouse should talk about finances on all these levels to make sure you are both “rowing in the same direction…” and then make sure your estate plan is in line with your direction.
–Melanie B. Holliman, JD
Partner at Bradford & Holliman, LLC
No representation is made that the quality of the legal service to be performed is greater than the quality of service performed by other lawyers.