Planning When Divorced

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Whether due to divorce or death, you are now single again. You may have children and even grandchildren. In any event, you need to create (or revisit) your estate plan.

Did you know the law requires every adult American to make their own personal, financial, and health care decisions? Now that you are single again, who would make your fundamental decisions if you are legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness?

Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper estate planning, a probate judge will select one for you. The probate court process to accomplish this is expensive (it employs at least three attorneys), discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record, and is a real hassle for your loved ones. While the formal name for this probate process is a guardianship and conservatorship, we affectionately refer to it as the lawyer full-employment program.

Planning when divorced or single again

What Happens When There Is No Proper Estate Plan In Place After Becoming Single Again?

Did you know that, in the absence of proper estate planning when divorced, your assets may be distributed after death based on "one-size-fits-all" state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers may not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your loved ones and assets.

What if you remarry? Well, if you want to risk losing about half of what you have should the remarriage not work out and disinheriting your own children and grandchildren, then do nothing. On the other hand, I always tell my clients that "love may be blind, but it is best to go into a new relationship with both eyes open."

In short, you need to have a legally enforceable premarital agreement inked before you say "I do" on your wedding day.

I have noticed some things since I prepared my first estate plan in January of 1985. For example, when a wife loses her husband, she grieves. When a husband loses his wife, he replaces. This is supported by a University of California study. Researchers there found that 60% of widowers are involved in a new relationship within two years after losing their wives, while only 20% of widows have a new relationship.

But wait, there's more.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, men are ten times more likely to remarry after age 65. And the average time before they are remarried is just 2.5 years. When dad remarries a new wife some 20 years his junior, that can trigger all kinds of drama in the family!

Research aside, I believe men do not mature fully until at least age 105! We are helpless, vulnerable, and gullible. This is a dangerous combination. Women, on the other hand, likely have relationships with children, grandchildren, and other widows. Why would a widow want to remarry some other woman's "unfinished project" and spoil her nice lifestyle? Many senior bachelors are just looking "for a nurse with a purse" later in life.

As you can see, estate planning when divorced and single again includes planning for any new relationships in the future while preserving (and protecting) the relationships you already have.

Fortunately, we can help you avoid the lawyer full-employment program and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives. We even help you coordinate the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement plans with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences.

Estate planning when divorced can help you protect everyone you love and everything you have. There are three ways to schedule your complimentary initial consultation: first, give us a call; second, send us an e-mail; or third, Request an Initial Consultation/Review online.

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