When young couples marry in their 20s and 30s, they wind up sharing a lot of things: a house, children, maybe a bank account. They may be buying their first house, having their first children.

But for older couples getting married or remarried, it's a different story. Many already own a home, have children and have their own bank accounts. They may also have their own accountants, financial advisors and estate attorneys. For them, merging households is trickier business. They not only have to decide whose house to live in but whose advisors to use.

"I can't tell you how many newlyweds come to our site asking about this very question," says Ryan Himmel, a CPA and founder of BIDaWIZ Inc., an online Web site for accounting and financial advice.

Himmel says more women than men make inquiries on his site, in some instances because their husbands wanted to be the one to choose the family advisors-even if both partners were coming to the marriage with their own. The husbands felt it was natural for them to make that decision either because they were bringing more money to the marriage or because they believed they had more financial expertise. That's not a very good check and balance for the other partner in the marriage, Himmel says.

Himmel advises couples to be strategic about the decision and to choose the advisor who best fits both partners' needs. That means the husband and wife should be interviewing each other's advisors and then taking a step back to reassess their options.

"There have been cases where some of the credentials of the accountant were never checked by the spouse using them, and the new spouse then does some cross-referencing and finds the accountant's licensure is not accurate," Himmel says.

Himmel says he helped one client prepare for her new husband's accountant by sending her off with a set of criteria and a list of questions-what types of tax returns he did, for instance. One of the questions was about Roth IRAs, and when she asked, it was clear the accountant wasn't up to date on them. It made the husband realize perhaps his accountant, who he'd trusted implicitly, wasn't the best choice to be the family accountant.

If they are visiting a new spouse's financial advisor, they have some other questions to ask as well. Do the advisor's clients fall into a particular demographic? Does the advisor have a certain asset allocation? It's also important to check with the advisor's licensing agency to make sure his or her licenses are up to date, Himmel says.

Sometimes, the new couple's choice of advisor depends on who had his or her advisor longer. If one spouse has been with an advisor for so long that they've bonded, then the other spouse usually allows that advisor to handle the marital assets.

And then sometimes, it just comes down to gender. "Very often, I think the females in the partnership are more likely to acquiesce to the lead of the other partner," says Cicily Maton, president and founder of Aequus Wealth Management in Chicago. "I tend to think that this has a lot to do with women not having had as much experience in working with advisors. And more often, the male in the partnership has."

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