North Carolina residents can take steps before and during their marriage to protect their money. Even though it may seem somewhat callous to plan for a divorce, it is a sound financial move and can help secure a financial future if a divorce does occur.
The separation of one's assets from those of their spouse is a key element in safeguarding one's money. Not only does it make estate planning less cumbersome, but it allows individuals to have more control over what happens to their assets after they die.
The separation of assets can begin with keeping one's financial accounts separate from those of a spouse. For joint expenses, many couples prefer using shared accounts; however, it is wise to open a brand-new joint account in lieu of adding a spouse to one's existing account. For couples who have already combined their finances, if either party is left a gift or inheritance, that party should open an account in their name only. Separate accounts are also recommended for expenses associated with assets that belong just to one spouse.
Maintaining detailed records is another way to protect one's financial assets. Recent statements for retirement, checking, savings and brokerage accounts should be kept to establish how much the accounts are worth. People who are business owners or possess other types of property that can be difficult to valuate should have the asset professionally appraised before getting married. Estate planning documents, including trusts and wills that refer to inheritances, should also be kept in a safe place.
An attorney who practices divorce law may litigate to obtain a client's desired settlement terms regarding the division of assets like real estate, retirement accounts or other high-value assets. A divorce attorney may be able to advise clients what legal documents should be in place before marriage to protect their finances.