I respectfully disagree with some of the things my colleagues said. Estate planning can be used to "help" with the problem in tandem with a finance plan but it won't solve overspending by itself.
First, dealing with finance - one trick you may be able to use is to have her either balance the checkbook or do the bill paying. That way she is constantly aware of what is coming in, and what is going out. If you can calmly teach her how, this may help
Second, speaking with a financial planner who can teach your wife about finances, and create a plan so you can actually save into the future can be VERY beneficial. I work with a very talented CFP (Certified Financial Planner) named Brian, you can contact him through percension.com, 206-455-2765 . He is a fantastic communicator and really knows his stuff at every level of finance. Cannot push him enough.
Lastly, you can also set up a trust, if both of you agree to it, into which money will be placed - and then create conditions and controls to dictate how much money can be pulled out, when the money can be pulled out, who makes the determination as to when the money is pulled out, and when the trust can be liquidated. Trusts are an amazing tool for situations like this where control of the finances are the paramount concern.
Other mechanisms, like annuities, can also be used for this purpose. Though trusts provide far greater flexibility and precision in controlling assets.
Matthew Johnson (Johnson Legal Group, PLLC 206.747.0313) is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed
This is really not a legal problem. Documents can only do so much; this is a behavorial problem.
She needs professional counseling and marriage therapy would be helpful here.
Hope this helps.
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Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is email@example.com , his website for more tax, estate and business articles is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is
LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.
I agree with Attorney Fromm that this is a relationship problem. It is also a potential legal mess for you. How can there be no time for a pre-nup? That can be set up in a day or two. I suppose if you have nothing, then there is nothing anyone can take away from you. But if you have more than nothing, I do not see why you would not protect it.
What incentive is there for the wife to sign a post-nup?
I would get the pre-nup signed or postpone the wedding for a couple days.
I am sure that you are aware that most divorces are the result of financial problems within the marriage. Given where you are starting, you need to be doubly careful and protect yourself and your heirs. I would get this done today.
P.S. This should go without saying, but that sometimes creates an illusion; this needs to be handled by an attorney, and your prospective wife ideally would have Spanish speaking legal counsel, as well. If your future wife does not have legal counsel and YOUR attorney does not speak Spanish, then you run the risk of the whole thing being undone.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.
Marriage counseling, or possibly even seeing a financial counselor, is a good idea.
In Washington, a prenuptial agreement that is signed shortly before the wedding is unlikely to be enforced by the court later (if it becomes necessary.) So I agree with your feeling about it being too late for a prenup.
If her bad spending habits continue after the marriage, the reason she may be willing to sign a postnuptial agreement is to stay married. As with a prenup, be sure that each of you has your own attorney before signing, and that each other's assets and debts are disclosed (and preferably listed.) Be sure that her attorney is fluent in Spanish; it may even be advisable to create a Spanish version of the postnuptial agreement, to ensure that she understands it.
Have a good wedding, and work together afterwards to address these concerns. The postnuptial agreement may be needed only if her spending habits do not change.
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