It used to be that divorces among older adults were comparatively uncommon; they accounted for only about 10% of all filings until the 2000s. But today, about a quarter of all divorces involve people over age 50. A related phenomenon is that many older adults in Tennessee are getting remarried. There are some important financial considerations older adults need to be aware of if they want to include multiple families in their estate plan.
Ensure assets make it to the right people
When people have had more than one family, effective estate planning becomes more complex. Most people have a will as the cornerstone of their end-of-life planning. However, the will must be up to date and account for the current complexity of the estate to be valid. It’s important for remarried people to ensure that this document reflects their current spouse and all of their children. Otherwise, the state may simply award the whole estate to the next of kin. This could mean inadvertently disinheriting children from their first marriage.
It’s also important to use the right instruments to deliver assets to the proper people. Sometimes, testators use a marital trust to ensure that their current spouse can stay in the house. The idea is that upon their death, the house will pass to the testator’s adult children. However, in practice, the reality of aging and the costs of elder care can affect the property as it can lose value over time. To prevent this, it may be a better idea to leave the surviving spouse money in the form of a life insurance policy and leave physical property to the children.
Remarried people may want to work with an attorney who has extensive experience with estate planning. Attorneys may help clients understand how the court will view documents and assist clients in constructing plans that will accomplish their goals.