When Single Again

Planning When Single Again

Serving Clients in New York City and the New York Metropolitan Area


Whether due to divorce or death, 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 to make his or her own personal, financial and health care decisions? As a single person, your next of kin may include diverse family members. If you do not have your parent(s) and/or sibling(s) available, then distant relatives may be contacted to make health decisions for you if you are unable to. If no one is available, then there would be a delay in health care decisions, which could delay necessary care. Your financial management would also be in limbo without a legally appointed person named to act for you. You need to think now about who would make these basic decisions if you were legally unable to do so due to a serious injury or illness, incapacity or mental impairment?

Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper planning, then an emergency room doctor can act not to delay necessary care. If that is not possible, a court will select an agent for your health and financial decisions. While the judge will likely appoint a family member, the court process to accomplish this is long, expensive and can be a burden to your family. The documents you need to solve this possible emergency and delay are the power of attorney and the health care proxy, in which you will appoint the agents of your choice to act for you.

What if you remarry? Will you execute a prenuptial agreement to set out an agreement for your support and care and address your division of assets and responsibilities? If you fail to plan or be clear about your wishes by using a trust, will or prenuptial agreement, you may risk losing about half of what you have at your death or divorce, thereby reducing your own children and grandchildren’s share to go into a new relationship with a mutually agreeable estate plan.

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 dad remarries a new wife some 20 years his junior that 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 this probate process and replace that impersonal state-intestacy plan with one our firm can design for your unique circumstances and objectives. We can even assist you in developing a comprehensive estate plan to include drafting and executing powers of attorney, health care proxy, living trusts, last will and testaments, coordinating life insurance benefits and coordinating the beneficiary designations on your retirement plans with your estate plan in order to avoid unintended consequences and to follow your wishes and plan.

 

Topics to consider when you are single again:

  • Do you need a Trust for your grandchild(ren)?
  • How do you select Executors and Trustees?
  • How do you blend the interests of new family members with your existing family and heirs in a comprehensive plan?
  • Have you saved enough to cover your own needs?
  • Do you need to plan for long term health care issues?

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