Five Estate Planning Tips for Couples Marrying Later in Life

Senior couple getting married at the beach

Here are some factors to consider when marrying, or remarrying, later in life.

Should You Have a Prenuptial Agreement?

In most situations, the answer is yes, particularly if you and your betrothed have children from previous marriages, a disparity in financial resources, or substantial assets. When couples marry, assets and income typically become community property. A prenuptial agreement makes provisions for dividing assets if the marriage ends. You should discuss your prenuptial agreement well in advance, and each party should have their own attorney. 

Consider Trust Planning

When couples marry later in life, it is not unusual for each spouse to have their own ideas about who should inherit their assets. Without wills that are “mirror image” of each other, substantial wealth could be passed to the family of the spouse who dies last. 

Even when a collaborative plan is put in place, mirror image wills may not be a complete solution. Trusts can help in this situation if they become irrevocable at the death of the first spouse. Couples who marry later in life should consider trust planning to ensure that their intentions are carried out. 

Update Existing Estate Plans

It is important to update your estate plan when you get married, whether you’re marrying late in life or not. Doing so helps ensure your assets will be distributed according to your wishes when you pass away. You’ll want to review your powers of attorney, of course, and pay particular attention to your beneficiary designations on all legal and financial documents. If your ex-spouse is still named as beneficiary on, say, your life insurance policy or retirement plan, the ex could inherit these assets rather than your current spouse.

At Cardinal Estate Planning we recommend that you review your estate planning documents every five years, however, in the case of life changing event such as a remarriage, it is important to review your planning right away.

Protect Income Streams

Marriage can impact your income from Social Security, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, alimony, and more. If you have a dependent loved one with special needs, his or her eligibility for public benefits could be impacted as well. 

Don’t Ignore the Possibility of Needing Expensive Long-Term Care

Most of us will require some form of long-term care after age 65. For couples marrying later in life, the obvious question is who will pay for it. If you and your future spouse are creating a prenuptial agreement, you may want to include language requiring each of you to purchase long-term care insurance (assuming such policies are affordable in your case). With the annual cost of a private room in a nursing home averaging over $175,000 in Pennsylvania as of the writing of this article, you can’t afford to ignore the possibility that one or both of you will eventually need long-term care.

Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorney

If you have questions about marrying later in life or, contact an Estate Planning attorney at Cardinal Estate Planning by calling 570-252-9043 to schedule an appointment.

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