Your spouse has passed away and 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 his or her own personal, financial and health care decisions? Now that you are single again, who would make your basic 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, then a judge will select one for you. The court process (known as a guardianship proceeding) to accomplish this is expensive (it often employs at least three attorneys), makes your private personal and financial information a public record and is a real hassle for your loved ones.
Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, 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, it is best to go into a new relationship with both eyes open. In short, you may need to have a legally enforceable premarital agreement inked before you say “I do” on your wedding day.
In a recent University of California study, researchers 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.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, men are 10 times more likely to remarry after age 65. And the average time before they are remarried is just 2.5 years. When a parent remarries it can trigger all kinds of drama in the family, to say the least.
As you can see, planning for being 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 probate 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.
If you have a question, a comment, or simply want to have a conversation and explore how we can help, we'd love to hear from you.