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Nobody likes to think about the possibility of their marriage ending in divorce, or of their parents’ marriage dissolving. For older adults though, the odds of divorce are rising. In fact, according to data released by the Pew Research Center, divorce rates for U.S. adults ages 50 and up have doubled since the 1990s. Parsing the data further revealed that the divorce rates are highest for people in their second or subsequent marriages.
From an estate planning standpoint, these results drive home just how important it is to make sure your estate planning documents are designed to protect both your spouse and children from your first marriage or other heirs. In the absence of a solid estate plan, your intended heirs and beneficiaries may not receive the assets you would want them to get.
There are several different estate planning strategies designed to address the potential imbalance that can occur in a second or third marriage when that marriage ends in divorce, or simply when one spouse becomes ill or dies during the marriage. Some of those planning tools include the following:
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to designate how assets would pass in a divorce
- Long-term care insurance, to protect assets if you or your spouse needs nursing-home or other skilled care
- Life insurance with adult children named as beneficiaries
- Irrevocable trusts naming multiple beneficiaries (spouse and children/grandchildren)
- Lifetime gifting to loved ones
- Revocable trusts providing for the surviving spouse’s needs during their lifetime but naming children as “remaindermen.”
Everyone’s financial situation, assets and liabilities, and goals for their wealth are different. What’s important is that you and your spouse (or intended spouse) talk to each other and work with estate planning attorneys who can help you design and implement strategies to give you – and your loved ones – valuable peace of mind.
Ready to learn more and to explore how to protect your loved ones through estate planning? Contact our office today!