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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Estate Planning > Estate Planning Is Your Best Defense Against Gray Divorce

Estate Planning Is Your Best Defense Against Gray Divorce


Maturity is a key ingredient in successful marriages, and so is being honest with yourself and with your spouse about finances.  Conflict about money has tanked the relationships of many couples who married in the springtime of their lives with the highest hopes; one advantage to getting married when you are older and both spouses have established careers is that it makes sense to keep at least some of your finances separate.  Unless they are trust fund babies, few couples who marry before age 30 go into the marriage each owning a house unencumbered by a mortgage, but this situation is fairly common among couples who marry at age 65.  Just because you and your spouse are both old enough, wise enough, and financially stable enough not to fight about every penny, you still need to talk about money, specifically about what you will and will not inherit from each other.  Working this out among yourselves and communicating it clearly to your respective children could save your marriage, and it could even prevent an ugly court battle during probate.  One of the first things you should do after you come back from your honeymoon is to set up an appointment with a Tampa estate planning lawyer.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, but As for Your Estate Plan …

When you are young enough that your children are still minors, the biggest mistake you can make is not to write a will at all.  If your children are grown up and you are widowed or divorced, then it is an equally big mistake not to update the will that you wrote when you were still married to your first spouse.  A common problem in the estate plans of people who remarry late in life is the so-called “I love you will.”  In this type of will, each spouse leaves his or her entire estate to the other spouse and stipulates that, if the other spouse predeceases the author of the will, the couple’s children inherit the entire estate.

If your new spouse wrote an “I love you will” during his first marriage but then met you after his first wife died, it means that your stepchildren will inherit everything and you will inherit nothing.  If this happens, you have the right to claim an elective share of the estate, but this can lead to a lot of ill will in your family.  It is much easier if you have an honest discussion with your spouse about inheritance.  If you both have children and grandchildren and want to leave most of your property to your respective descendants, you have the right to do this, but you should be honest with each other about it, and both of your wills should reflect this.  You can even waive the right to claim an elective share of each other’s estate, and you may wish to bequeath non-probate assets to each other.

Contact David Toback With Questions About Revising Your Estate Plan After Marriage

A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you revise your estate plan to reflect your new marital status.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.



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