Some seniors don't expect to remarry after a divorce or the death of a spouse. However, life is full of surprises. You could meet someone at any age, even during your retirement years.
Many older adults bring various assets and debts into a new relationship. They might also have children from a previous marriage, one or multiple businesses, and collections they've worked hard to accumulate.
Without adequate estate planning, you or your spouse could encounter significant problems if one of you dies or suffers a debilitating medical condition.
Below are the tips you should follow while creating or modifying your estate plan if you decide to remarry.
Execute a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that a couple drafts before getting married. It outlines each person's assets and liabilities. It can dictate how property should be distributed among the couple if they divorce.
Creating a prenup before your subsequent marriage can provide various benefits. It protects each person's assets and future if something happens to the other party. It can also establish how to manage the other's finances if long-term care or medical treatment is necessary for the future.
Handle Your Financial Affairs
Many couples combine their assets when they marry. You might have joint bank accounts, purchase a home together, or share ownership in a family business. Some seniors decide to keep their money separate, especially if a previous marriage left them with fewer assets than they had before marrying. Whatever your financial situation, determining what to do with your individual and collective assets when one of you passes away is critical.
It might be a good idea to create a financial power of attorney. You can appoint your spouse as the agent. A financial power of attorney authorizes them to handle your financial affairs if you can't make sound decisions. For example, they can access your bank account and use the funds for your medical expenses and other necessary bills if you're in a coma.
Prepare for Medical Problems
One of the most problematic aspects of marriage later in life can be an unexpected accident or illness. Unless you have detailed conversations about such an eventuality or leave written instructions, your spouse won't know how to handle your care without the proper legal documents.
You can create a medical power of attorney so your spouse can advise your doctors about the type of treatment you want. You should also include a signed HIPAA authorization your spouse can use to access your medical records. This part of an estate plan ensures you have someone to carry out your wishes if you're unable to speak for yourself.
Create a Trust
You or your spouse can establish a trust to transfer assets to while you're alive. Trusts are vital aspects of estate planning for seniors, especially if a couple's finances differ significantly. A surviving spouse with fewer assets doesn't have to worry about how to pay for a funeral or burial, final medical costs, and other expenses. They can have the trust assets transferred immediately without going through probate and use them to cover necessary bills.
Contact an Newport Beach Estate Planning Lawyer Today
Planning a wedding isn't the only part of your future you and your partner should focus on as a couple. Seniors must ensure that they create an estate plan that protects their interests and their spouse's future.
Do not hesitate to contact our firm to learn about how we can help if you're a senior about to walk down the aisle. To schedule a consultation with a Newport Beach estate planning lawyer, simply call us at 714-374-2244 and mention this blog post.