When spouses are close in age, their estate planning matters are usually a joint effort. However, if you are married to someone who is much older or younger than you are, then your estate planning priorities might be completely different. If there is a significant age gap between you and your spouse and you want to make sure your estate planning matters are in order in case one of you passes away or becomes incapacitated, then you need to have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about the financial and estate planning topics we discuss below.
Employment Plans for the Future
If you and your spouse rely on one or both of your jobs to cover your health insurance and income needs, then you should discuss the ways your lifestyle might change if one or both of you decide to retire or stop working in the near future. You should also talk about what you would like to do with your extra time once you are retired or no longer working. Do you want to travel together or separately? Does one spouse aspire to start a business? Talking about your plans for life after retirement will reveal what you each have in mind for what you will be doing together as a couple in the future.
Managing Finances for Retirement
Once you retire or decide it’s time to stop working, your household will be losing one type of income. Although your retirement accounts might provide a large portion of the money you will live on during retirement, it takes advanced planning to properly execute this financial strategy. As a married coupled with an age gap, you should discuss when you are planning to retire. You and your partner should also meet with a financial planner to make sure your finances are on track and to determine when you will likely be able to afford to give up a paycheck.
Another financial topic for discussion is how you will maintain your current lifestyle and income needs if neither of you is working. You need to have a plan for when you are going to withdraw the required minimum distributions from your retirement accounts, so consult with a knowledgeable financial advisor or estate planning lawyer who can advise you on the best strategy given your current account balances and the specific retirement goals you have set for future.
Updating Your Estate Plan
If you want to make sure your family and loved ones are taken care of after you pass away or if you are ever incapacitated, then you need to take the time to craft a comprehensive estate plan that reflets your particular wishes. If you fail to create an estate plan, then your state’s laws will ultimately determine who gets your money and property when you die and who will make decisions for you in the event you cannot make them for yourself.
If you are reviewing your existing estate plan or starting a new one, then you need to consider the following questions:
- Have you selected people you trust to serve as the executor of your estate, your personal representative, successor trustee, and agent under a financial power of attorney or medical power of attorney?
- Who do you want to name as your beneficiary?
- Do you want your beneficiary to receive the inheritance outright or in trust?
- If you have children from your current marriage, will they be treated the same as children from a previous relationship, or will they receive preferential treatment?
Due the age difference, it is prudent for spouses in your position to name alternates to serve as decisionmakers in case the first choice (usually your spouse) cannot act on their behalf. If you have children from a previous relationship, you should also consider if and in what order you want to name them to one of these important decision-making roles.
Legacy Law Centers Can Assist With all of Your Estate Planning Needs
At Legacy Law Centers, our team of dedicated and skilled attorneys take great pride in using our extensive experience and knowledge of the law to help clients of all backgrounds leave behind a legacy they can be proud of – one that will have a positive impact on future generations. If you have more questions about crafting a comprehensive estate plan that addresses the age gap between you and your spouse, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.
To get started on your estate plan, call (571) 777-1000 or contact us online to speak to one of our legal professionals.