55 and Above, SJ Magazine, October 2009
While 55 may be the “New 40”, 55 is still the chronological age required for residency in most planned retirement communities. These retirement communities are generally governed by an association which maintains common areas on behalf of the residents of the retirement community. There are both economic and social advantages to living in a planned retirement community with a governing association. Economically, the association is generally responsible for landscaping, enforcement of architectural and use restrictions, and/or upkeep of common areas. While monthly assessments are collected from members of the association, members enjoy the advantages of pooling their resources to pay common expenses for property maintenance and/or improvements. The social advantages of living within a planned retirement community include living with persons who are of a similar age, share similar interests and who, through their association, can plan activities and joint expenditures beneficial to the entire community.
The senior citizen lifestyle has also changed due to the increasing occurrence of second marriages due to the death of or divorce from a former spouse. Senior citizens are, accordingly, increasingly enjoying a second chance at love during their golden years. Individuals involved in these relationships and resulting second marriages should consider entering into a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are particularly appropriate when either the bride or groom has children from a prior relationship and/or has acquired significant assets prior to the marriage. The prenuptial agreement is a contract between the marrying couple defining their rights in the event of a divorce. The prenuptial agreement must be entered into prior to the marriage, accurately disclose each party’s holdings, and be entered into without fraud, coercion and/or other circumstances which would call into question the voluntariness of the agreement. Accordingly, and while second marriages are a welcomed and wonderful result of our living longer, the “old lovers” should remember to consider the effects their new relationship will have on the family and friends they have acquired prior to this new special person being a part of their lives. They should accordingly enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to the second marriage to protect the rights of children from prior relationships and/or to specifically address how assets will be distributed and/or support awarded should the second marriage end in divorce.