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Ask an Expert 2

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Each week one of our team of experts will answer your question. If you have a question you’d like answered please e-mail us on team@eldernet.co.nz with “Ask an Expert” in the header. All questions will be treated anonymously. We will make an effort to answer all questions, however we cannot answer them within any given time frame.
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We are getting married soon and have been told that for mature people with our own families that there could a lot of potential pitfalls. Can you advise us? Sarah and Don

In a nut shell, there are potentially a lot of pitfalls!

It’s important for you both to review and update your wills before your marriage. It’s a case of identifying the people, for whom you (now or still) need to provide or make arrangements.

You may also find that some of your family members may not share your thoughts on your idea of the marriage. This could lead to competing interests between your children and your (soon to be) step-children i.e. you may start to spend a lot more time and grow a lot closer to your step-children. This could create some difficulties if you decide to update your wills later on.

You may both also consider forming separate trusts to be able to continue to provide for and protect your own children. At the same time, it may also be a good idea, for both of you to agree on what property you will continue to own separately and what property you will own together. It’s important to record this agreement in writing and a specialist in this area can help. And don’t worry, this type of agreement is quite common in these circumstances.

The important thing is for you both not to be afraid to discuss with each other how you wish to deal with the property you already own and how you wish to provide for your family members. It’s important for each of you to discuss your wishes and financial situation with a lawyer.
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This weeks’ expert is Jonathan Pow, solicitor at Wynn Williams and Co. Contact them on 03 379 7622 for all your legal needs and queries.

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