The rise of “gray divorce” has also come with a rise in remarriage. A growing number of people in Tennessee and nationwide are choosing to remarry later in life, often after previous long-term relationships and with adult children. Seniors who are considering remarriage may have thought about their estate plans years ago, but they may get caught up in the excitement of a new romance and leave thoughts of wills and trusts aside. This can pose a problem for some seniors because the consequences of an out-of-date estate plan can be significant for loved ones.

Old estate plans can cause problems

There are a few common problems that frequently arise when wills, trusts and other estate documents are not revised after a remarriage later in life. The new spouse may not be protected in the estate plan. Instead, all property may be granted to adult children, a charity or another beneficiary. In some cases, this could mean that a widow or widower is even forced to leave their home. In other cases, people may fail to make a will or other estate documents altogether. Almost all of their property may go directly to their new spouse, and their children from previous relationships could be left out.

Updating key documents may provide protection

By reviewing and refreshing an estate plan at the time of remarriage, you can help to prevent these unwanted outcomes. Some draft revocable trusts and other documents to ensure that their wishes are clear. Of course, wills and trusts aren’t the only concern; it may be particularly important to update life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other funds with named beneficiaries.

Remarriage can be an exciting, happy time in a senior’s life. By consulting with an estate planning attorney about changes to key documents, you can help to protect your spouse and children for many years to come.