In this checklist, you get tips and advice on essential things to think about before you plan your wedding.
Think about before the wedding
Avoid borrowing for the wedding. Instead, start a special saving and try not to take off the buffering saving – you may need something else.
Write a prenuptial agreement and will
When you get married, you would not think about the idea that your marriage might end someday. Despite this, it happens quite often that couples go their separate ways. By thinking beforehand, it is possible to avoid unnecessary discussions and financial conflicts. So write a prenuptial agreement if you want specific property not to be included in the marriage law and shared equally.
A prenuptial agreement is a written agreement between spouses that regulates what is to be private property in a marriage. Personal property is that which only belongs to you and which should not be included in a possible future division of property, for example, in the event of divorce. If you do not write a prenuptial agreement, in principle, all property, including what you owned before the marriage, becomes marital property and is divided equally in the event of a divorce. The formal requirements for a prenuptial agreement are not as strict as for a will, but it must be in writing, signed by the spouses, and registered.
There are no fixed forms because the prenuptial agreement can look different. Therefore, it may be a good idea to contact a family lawyer for help in writing off the contract. The agreement can be written at any time – both before and during the marriage. It is always possible to change the contract.
Write a will
The main rule is that spouses inherit from each other. This means that joint children have to wait to receive their inheritance until the surviving spouse dies. Children who are not common, so-called orphan children, have the right to receive their inheritance immediately. If there are only orphaned children, the spouse has in principle no right of inheritance at all if there is no will.
Some rules say how the inheritance after a deceased person is to be distributed, the so-called legal inheritance order. If you do not want it to apply, a will must be written in which it is clarified how you want to distribute the estate. Feel free to get help from a family lawyer – especially if there are both joint children and orphaned children (children from previous relationships). By writing a will, you help your relatives know what you want.
It is also common for parents to write in the will that the inheritance after them should be the children’s private property.
Even if you do not want to think the worst, you should also think about what happens if the whole or parts of the family should die. Who will then inherit? What if only minor children remain, who or what do you want to take care of the children?
Make sure you get a balanced economy and pension.
From an international perspective, the United States is at the forefront when it comes to economic equality. But we are not quite there yet, and in large parts, the development is too slow. Out of love and care, therefore, think about protecting each other’s finances if something unforeseen happens in life. With a gender-equal economy, you create better conditions for each other to build up their own financial security alongside the common one. The more you agree on your shared finances, the less the risk of money conflicts. Therefore, it is wise to, no matter what happens, think about how each party should be able to manage financially on their own – both in the short and long term.
Here are five tips for an equal economy:
- Work full time. If possible, try to work full time. More extended periods of the part-time job affect your provisions for, among other things, social insurance. Part-time work also affects career opportunities, salary development, and in the long run, both occupational pension and general pension. If the family situation requires a part-time job, try sharing part-time. Better that both go down to 90 percent, for example, than that one goes down to 80 and the other works full time.
- Divide the parental leave. Statistics show that parental benefit withdrawal is not equal, which can significantly affect the woman. You often count on the parental leave itself but miss the long-term effects of an unequal withdrawal.
- Share unpaid work. A skewed distribution of parental days and part-time often means that women take greater responsibility for the home’s outstanding work. It is a pattern that risks hanging on long after the children have grown up and the baby days are over. Therefore, a prerequisite for the paid work to be equal is that the home’s unpaid work is also distributed equally.
- Supplement with your savings. Make sure you both have your savings. And compensate especially those who carry the heaviest load at home and perhaps work part-time. Remember to write a prenuptial agreement that makes saving private property. If you have a joint account – also remember to have your own account. Then it will be easier to pay the bills if any of you pass away. To access the money in the joint bank account, you also need a bank private account in the same bank.
- Make sure you get an equal pension. The difference between men’s and women’s pensions is not always great – and it is women who are most often the losers. Statistics show that those with the lowest pensions are divorced women. Those who have lost their spouse in death have the best pension. The widows’ pensions are on average 13 percent higher than those of the divorced. Therefore, think about what life as a divorcee could look like, partly because the pension financial safety nets work worse in divorce than in death and partly because there are far more people who divorce than who become widows. A concrete way to reduce the problem is to transfer your pension rights for the premium pension to your partner. It may also be an idea for you to review the distribution of pension savings. For example, if one of you reduces your working hours for a more extended period, then make sure that person is compensated and has the opportunity for extra savings for the pension.
Review your insurance coverage
Insurance must provide security now and for the future. A very important and at the same time frightening question you may have to ask yourself is; What happens to my family and their finances if I suddenly die? What insurance benefits does my family receive from different sources?
Many younger families with newly purchased houses have a hefty loan burden because there are two incomes. If one dies, the survivor may find it challenging to manage the costs alone. The solution may be to obtain life insurance, which means that a lump sum is paid out on one of the parties’ death. The society provides some protection for survivors in the event of a person’s death, a time-limited adjustment pension, and in some cases, an orphan’s pension. And those who have an occupational pension through their employer usually have some form of survivor protection. But, at least in a slightly longer perspective, there will still be significantly less money in the wallet if one of the family’s income earners dies. For a couple with joint children, and where no one has children from a previous relationship, so-called orphan children, the simplest and cheapest solution is to take out mortgage protection. In other cases, you and your partner should take out life insurance or group life insurance on each other’s lives.
If you become ill for a long time, it can affect your finances dramatically. Sickness benefit drops sharply after about 90 days of sick leave, depending on insurance. Especially if you are a high-income earner, you should consider taking out separate health insurance that covers parts of what is not covered by the general health insurance and any occupational pension.
Also, be in the habit of periodically reviewing insurance coverage to match your current needs.
Obtain a future power of attorney
The new law on future power of attorney means that you can decide who should have the right to make decisions for you later in life when you no longer have the opportunity yourself. The future power of attorney functions as an alternative to a good husband and includes both financial and personal matters.
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