A divorce under any circumstances is never easy. Whether you are young and in love, middle-aged with children or in your golden years and unexpectedly alone, the end of a marriage is in many ways a tragedy. With self-care and the love and compassion of others, however, divorcees can nurture in a new phase of life.
This time may be more challenging for seniors going through a so-called “Gray Divorce.” This is the term researchers have assigned to a separation occurring late in life. While it may be more difficult for all involved, it is by no means impossible. In fact, according to Pew Research, Gray Divorces are becoming more common, with a significant amount occurring among couples who have been married for 30 years or more.
A healthy first step for older adults is to finalize a divorce proceeding with an eye on the future. A particularly important item to keep in mind, is the need to update your existing estate planning. Much of what you want will be altered by a separation and it is important to ensure that you are protected in life, disability, and death. For example, if your soon to be ex-spouse has the authority to legally act on your behalf through a power of attorney, you may want to change that as soon as possible.
Further, now is the time to create a long-term care plan. This is a plan that involves a variety of services designed to meet an older adult’s health and personal care needs, including those related to housing, nursing, transportation, and even companionship.
For seniors, both of these steps are essential aspects of a secure future. It may go without saying, but consulting with an experienced attorney to identify your options and plan for the best way forward is enormously advantageous. Developing a post-Gray Divorce estate plan and long-term care plan often requires meeting with your attorney to ensure your wishes can be met. Your attorney will know how to navigate you through this challenging time. We encourage you to ask us your questions so that you may know the path forward and plan the right steps for your own unique situation.