Dear Quentin: How do couples typically handle their property in a second marriage? My husband and I have been married for seven years and it is the second marriage for both of us. I have an adult child from my previous marriage; has no children.
“’The other problem is that my husband no longer gets along with my dear son and doesn’t feel an obligation to get along with him.’ ”
I’m not interested in skimping, but I want to be able to have enough money to last us to our 90s (or more) without touching the director. My husband is more interested in dipping into our savings and living them into retirement while we are young enough to enjoy them. The other issue is that my husband no longer gets along with my dear son and does not feel an obligation to get along with him, to the point that neither of them wants to have anything to do with the other. As far as he’s concerned, my son doesn’t live up to his expectations, so he doesn’t deserve anything from me and certainly nothing from him. I want my estate planning to be fair to both my new husband and my son. How do people handle these kinds of dilemmas? I think I need to create some kind of trust to pass my part of our estate to my son. My prenuptial assets involved my son while he was earning my graduate degree from night school and working long hours during his childhood. Second Wife You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to the coronavirus at firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Second Wife: Please do not let your husband’s feelings towards your child influence your estate planning. Your relationships with your husband and son and your own retirement plans are fair game in making wealth decisions, but your husband and son’s fractured relationship is their business, not yours. He worked hard for this money and his son is his legal heir. Any effort by your husband to spend all your savings and squander any inheritance that you intended to leave to your child must be resisted at all costs. You’ve worked too hard your entire life to compromise your plans for a comfortable retirement where you have money set aside for long-term health care insurance, unforeseen emergencies, and / or your child. If you are a joint owner of your home, you can leave half to your child in your will and specify that it can only be sold after your husband dies. If you own the home, you can give your husband an estate for life. Your son would pay capital gains taxes on the value of his home when he sold it, not when he bought it. You can also make your child the beneficiary of your life insurance policy and / or gift him a certain amount of money per year to see how he manages and spends that money. Find out what is fair to you first before moving on to what is fair to your husband and child. It’s okay to put your needs first. I advise you not to dive into savings at a rate that exceeds your own tolerance for risk. Ultimately, you have the right to leave all other assets separate to your child when you die and, together with a financial advisor, establish a trust with that in mind for yourself, your husband, and your child. Not in that order necessarily. The Moneyist: ‘I cut his hair because he doesn’t pay for a haircut’: My billionaire husband is 90 years old. I have cared for him for 41 years, but it does not help my son. Hello MarketWatchers. Take a look at Moneyist’s private FB Facebook group, + 3.74%, where we search for answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, on all media and platforms, including third parties.