Older adults who decide to get divorced after age 50 might have to deal with complicated estate planning issues and increased family conflict. Gray divorces, which are divorces that occur later in life, have been increasing and introducing more issues into the estate planning process.
According to a recent survey that was conducted by TD Wealth, the increase in gray divorces has complicated estate planning. The survey included 112 professionals, including lawyers, elder law specialists, insurance advisers, and others who are involved in estate planning. The gray divorce rate has doubled over the last 30 years. Among the respondents, 7% said that gray divorce is impacting decisions about powers of attorney, and 5% said that it is affecting the drafting of wills. Another 6% reported that gray divorce is impacting the determination of Social Security benefits.
Among the estate planning attorneys who responded to the survey, 40% reported that gray divorce is causing an increase in family conflict. Another 39% reported that retirement planning is an essential component of estate planning for people who are divorcing after age 50. The authors said that the survey reveals the importance of considering external factors when creating estate plans.
Family conflict is a common problem with estate planning. When older couples get divorced, more conflict can be introduced into the process. People who have estate plans in place and decide to get divorced will need to review their plans and make any modifications that are needed. An experienced estate planning lawyer might help his or her clients to assess how the estate planning documents may need to be modified to reflect their changing life circumstances. People might need to change the beneficiaries of their wills, trusts, retirement plans, and life insurance policies. They may also need to draft new powers of attorney and advanced directives.