Nowadays, gray divorce is a term that is heard more and more frequently. Gray divorce generally refers to divorce that takes place after a couple has been married for 20 years or more. These are couples who have often already raised a family and are likely near or already in retirement.
The challenges of a gray divorce are unique, especially given that assets in this phase of life are generally more significant. Estate planning – that is, documents and tools that detail the assets and property that make up your estate – becomes particularly relevant in a gray divorce. Here are some key factors to consider in terms of estate planning if you are going through a gray divorce or have already divorced.
Making new decisions regarding assets
Estate planning comes into effect at all stages of a gray divorce: before, during and after. The divorce process will bring all your assets into play. You may have had an estate plan in place prior to your divorce, and now the asset portfolio has changed. There may be new considerations regarding wills and trusts now that you are no longer married. A major consideration for most couples in late-life divorce is that of financial independence as a single person and not a married couple. All these factors make up a part of estate planning. It is important to establish a solid estate plan following your divorce so that you can ensure your financial future.
Estate planning as a newly single person
If you are already retired and are newly single due to a gray divorce, it is essential that you examine how your assets and property are handled. Depending on your age, you may also want to begin thinking about how you wish to manage your assets in the coming decades, including distribution after your death. Without a spouse to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated, you may now consider who to choose as a decision-maker with a healthcare or general power of attorney. These are decisions that a qualified estate-planning attorney can help you with.
Gray divorce is a common challenge in today’s world. Late-life divorce and estate planning go hand in hand, and it is important to consider how your assets and property are managed in the various stages of divorce and after. Consult with a qualified estate-planning attorney to develop an effective plan as a newly single person.