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Estate planning changes after divorce later in life

In Nevada and across the country, a growing number of Americans are deciding to divorce later in life. While overall divorce rates have gone down, the divorce rate for people aged 50 and up actually doubled between 1990 and 2010, a trend that shows no sign of stopping. Financial advisors have noted some of the changes and concerns that can accompany divorce later in life, including making changes to each spouse's estate plan and retooling their retirement savings to fund separate lifestyles.

According to one survey, up to 40% of finance professionals said that their clients were going through more of these "gray divorces," leading to increased conflict over estate planning and other financial choices. Even when the marriage is healthy, there are concerns that can arise for people considering their estate plans, including reforms to the estate tax system and health care costs and payments.

Divorce rates can vary widely by state, but in nearly all parts of the country, people are choosing divorce more frequently in their elder years. Of course, today's older Americans are of the same generation that made divorce more common and socially accepted, and they are also more likely to work for longer into their elder years and maintain dual-income households.

The estate planning concerns that can arise after a "gray divorce" include changing beneficiaries, determining powers of attorney and planning for children of blended families, including making sure to update documents after the divorce is finalized. Otherwise, former spouses, children and other beneficiaries may wind up in a legal battle over the outcome of the estate.

Divorce, marriage and other major events can prompt people to consider their plans for the future. An estate planning attorney may help people to craft wills, trusts and other key estate documents that reflect their goals.

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