Lots of couples get engaged around the holidays: Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day. It’s such an exciting time and an absolute whirlwind of activity. After you have popped the question (or said “yes,” depending on which side of things you are on), posted all the pictures on Instagram and changed your relationship status on Facebook, you should consider the following amid all the fun:
1. Ring Insurance: The engagement ring is now one of your most prized possessions. It has immense sentimental value and probably a whole lot of monetary value, too. You should contact your personal lines insurance agent as soon as you purchase the ring to have it insured under its own policy to protect against loss, theft or damage. I would advise against putting it on your Homeowners Insurance as a Rider because a claim could affect your insurability and cost of premiums in the future. This tip may also help you get a multi-policy discount. In order to get ring insurance, you will need an appraisal of the ring. I would also advise taking very close up pictures of the ring to have for your records and from time to time, the ring should be brought to a jeweler for a “safety check” to make sure there are no loose stones or missing prongs. As time goes on, you can add your wedding bands to the policy.
2. Pre-Nup: This is the thing that no one wants to talk about but everyone should at least consider. There is a huge misconception that you need to be rich or own a business or lots of real estate or be a celebrity to necessitate a Prenuptial Agreement. Nothing could be further from the truth! Pre-Nups are just insurance policies. They are meant to protect you in case of divorce no matter what your financial status is going into the marriage. And since 50% of marriages end in divorce, it would be smart to do.
Please know, procedurally four people are required for proper execution of a Pre-Nup: You, your future spouse and one lawyer for each of you. One lawyer will prepare the agreement and the other will act as review counsel. Yes, this costs money, but it does not cost nearly as much as a nasty divorce.
3. Finances/Bankruptcy: Even if you do not get a pre-nup, you should fully disclose to each other your entire financial picture before your wedding day. It is only fair for each of you to go in with eyes-wide open for richer, for poorer. If one or both of you is carrying a lot of debt, you could consider a bankruptcy. It will help you start fresh and go into the marriage debt-free.
4. Estate Planning: Frankly, every adult human being over the age of 18 years old should have a simple estate plan whether they are getting married or not. But since you will be changing your marital status and your spouse will in essence be replacing your parents or next of kin, a simple estate plan is essential in my opinion. A basic estate plan consists of a Last Will in Testament that operates upon your death and a Power of Attorney and Living Will that both operate while you are still alive but unable to make your own legal and medical decisions.
I don’t want to seemingly put a damper on this joyous occasion in your life, so I will stop with the how-to’s on adulting and end on a happy note about all the enjoyable parts of getting married and having a wedding such as saying yes to the dress, cake-taste-testing and selecting a honeymoon destination (don’t forget the trip insurance, I digress!) and let you know that the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the Second Annual Bridal Expo on Sunday, January 28, 2024 at Grassy Hill Country Club in Orange from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. I will have a table there and I hope to see you and have a chance to say “Congratulations and Best Wishes!”