LegalJourney Blog

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Estate Planning for Seniors in Second (or Third) Committed Relationships

What questions should you and your partner ask as you plan your estate(s)?

Because it is now so common to be involved in a second, or even third, intimate relationship later in life, it is important for those involved to consult with a reliable estate planning attorney to straighten out their financial plans for the future. Though most of us don't like to think about it, let alone plan for it, we are all going to die, many of us after a prolonged illness. This means that, as responsible adults, we should all make preparations for elder care of ourselves and our spouses or significant others and for the distribution of our assets after we pass away. These processes become more difficult when we are married to, or involved with, a person who is not the parent of our children and who may also have children of his or her own. Unions that are consummated later in life have a different set of complications than the ones of typical newlyweds.

Financial and logistical decisions, even earlier in life, are laden with emotion. When adult children of different parents appear on the scene, such decisions become all the more complex. The pleasure adult children feel that their parents have found renewed joy later in life is often accompanied by concern, or even resentment, concerning their own inheritance. While experienced knowledgeable attorneys are prepared to counsel those concerned about ways to handle their estate planning, there are serious questions older individuals (who are newer couples) should ask themselves and their partners.

Questions To Be Considered by Partners in Relationships Formed Later in Life

Seniors ready to discuss estate planning should be brave enough to discuss the following questions in order to have a more meaningful conversation with their estate planning attorney:

  1. What state are your individual finances in? (be specific about assets, debts, and liquidity)
  2. Which residence will you two live in, assuming you will be living together?
  3. Who will be paying rent, utilities and other expenses?
  4. Do you want to establish a joint bank account or keep your finances separate?
  5. If you are to be married, have you considered a prenuptial agreement?
  6. Who will make legal and healthcare decisions for you and your partner, should this become necessary?
  7. As you leave your assets through a Will, consider whether the new partner will inhabit the existing residence after the death of the other partner?
  8. Who will pay the expenses on the property after one partner has died?
  9. How will assets be divided among the second partner and adult children and/or grandchildren from the first marriage?
  10. How can the one partner be protected from extended healthcare costs for the other?

Why an Estate Planning Attorney Is Essential

The above questions can be as daunting as they are necessary. An experienced estate planning attorney is adept at helping couples address these questions as the logistical problems they are and can keep the discussion from becoming confrontational or divisive. The aptitude of a skilled legal professional will, hopefully,  keep the conversation on track and allow the two principals to come to a mutually satisfying agreement.


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Attorney Karnardo Garnett represents clients with their Estate Planning, Elder Law and Asset Protection needs throughout the Tampa Bay Area, serving all of the bay area, including but not limited to Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Gibsonton, Riverview, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, Hillsborough County, and Pinellas County, FL



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