Estate Planning Precautions for Seniors Getting Married


When seniors get married, or when people get married later in life, there are a lot of issues they might need to face that younger people getting married don’t necessarily have to think about. Today, we are going to take a look at some essential estate planning precautions that seniors getting married need to think about.

Seniors and Waving Spousal Inheritance Rights

A lot of seniors who get married do so after having already raised a family, after already having been married, or after having already acquired substantial assets. When you and your new spouse enter into marriage, you automatically gain the right to inherit from one another upon the other’s death. This is not a right you can forcibly remove, but it is one you can voluntarily surrender. Why would you want to do this? There are many reasons.

First, many seniors who get married want to ensure that they leave a strong inheritance for their children, grandchildren, or other family members. Second, you may already be financially secure, and may not need to count on a potential inheritance from your new spouse.

But regardless of the specific reason, waving your spousal inheritance rights is fairly simple. All you have to do is talk with your attorney about drafting a prenuptial agreement that states your willingness to surrender your inheritance rights to your spouse’s property upon his or her death.

Seniors and Incapacitation

Even though anyone can become incapacitated at any time, seniors are at a much higher risk of losing their ability to make decisions. Seniors getting married absolutely need to address incapacity planning issues when they create an estate plan. They also need to discuss these issues in depth with their new spouse, as well as their close family members.

When you craft an incapacity plan, you’ll have to choose someone who will be able to make decisions on your behalf should you lose your capacity. Whether you choose your spouse, child, or someone else, you need to be clear about your decision. You also need to make it clear to your loved ones what decisions you want them to make on your behalf. It’s especially important to do this when you enter into a new marriage because children from a previous relationship can sometimes feel left out when you name your new spouse as your medical representative. Further, if you are not clear about your desires, this can easily lead to family conflict between children from a previous relationship and your new spouse.

For More Information on Spousal Inheritance Rights…

We put on monthly estate planning workshops in the Colorado Springs and Denver area.  At these workshops one of our attorneys will talk about how easy it is to disinherit your children when you get remarried, when a prenuptial agreement may be right for you, and much more.  Check out our workshop page to find out when our next estate planning workshop is scheduled.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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