How does a gray divorce impact an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2023 | Estate Planning |

It is no secret that a divorce will result in changes to various areas of your life. As you consider the terms you want to pursue in your divorce order and how you can create a strategy that will allow you to look to your future with confidence, you will benefit from not overlooking your long-term plans. It is likely that your gray divorce will necessitate multiple changes and adjustments to your existing estate plans, especially if you are near retirement age.

A gray divorce is one between two people who are age 50 and above. When you go through a divorce later in life, it can impact your retirement plans, when you can stop working and other long-term goals. It should also affect your estate plans. It is critical that you not delay in making important changes and updates after the finalization of your divorce.

What changes are necessary?

The impact of a gray divorce is significant. Even if you are a high-income couple, the distribution of marital property will likely require that you make some adjustments to your lifestyle. You may have to delay retirement, or you may have to split your long-term savings and retirement accounts. Additionally, you will no longer want a former spouse to be a beneficiary of any part of your estate. The following steps may be helpful for you:

  • Update any existing documents as needed — You may need to remove a spouse as a health care agent, or you may need to remove your spouse as an heir to your property after your passing.
  • Update any transfer-upon-death accounts — Remove your former spouse as a beneficiary to your life insurance policies or as the secondary account holder on pensions, retirement accounts and other types of accounts.
  • Create a new plan — If you do not yet have an existing estate plan or only had one in conjunction with your former spouse, you will benefit from creating your own. This will provide you with important protection for the future.

The specific changes you will need to make are specific to your individual situation and your goals for the future. If you are unsure of where to begin, you will benefit from seeking guidance from a knowledgeable estate law professional who can offer insight and support as you put important protections in place.