When I met my wife a few years ago, I had just been through a very bitter divorce. That was my second marriage, although I don’t really count my first (four months, age 19, you get the picture). So I sat my current wife down and explained to her that I never wanted to go through that kind of thing again. She was very understanding. She’s widowed and has two grown children. We set up a trust for her kids and for my four from my marriage. We divided it very amicably and, I think, fairly.
-Spencer, 61, Columbus, Ohio
When we got married four years ago, at the ages of 64 and 68, we consulted a lawyer to see what we should do to make sure that everyone was protected. We wrote separate wills that will leave our money to our children from our previous marriages. Since we both came in with nice-sized nest eggs, we weren’t really worried that the other person would run out of money if one of us died. We have a joint checking account that we both contribute to equally. We use it for most of our expenses and for big-ticket items like vacations. Our arrangement works for us, and we don’t have to worry that our kids will be left in the lurch.
-Truman, 72, Anaheim, Calif.
Although we are both on our second marriage, we have been married a pretty long time–23 years. My husband has a daughter from his previous marriage that I helped raise because her mother was out of the picture. I don’t have biological children, but I consider [my husband's daughter] to be my daughter. So when we got married, we just combined everything, with everything going to our daughter when we die. We were lucky that it was pretty simple for us because I know some families have a real hard time sorting out whose children are going to get what.
-Maria, 65, Corpus Christi, Texas
Actually, we had kind of a rough time when it came to arranging all that. After we were married, we sat down to make up a will, and I was shocked when my husband wanted to leave everything to his two children and nothing to my son. I tried to reason with him, and we even ended up in counseling to try to resolve the issue. We decided to keep separate accounts and pay for everything we buy for ourselves out of our own accounts. We have one joint account and we contribute to it according to our means (he came into the marriage with a lot more than I did). So now my son will get my money and his kids will get his.
-Michelle, 59, North Las Vegas, Nev.