In our last blog post, we talked about how newly married couples in Florida need to take the time to consider a host of estate planning issues. But the more we thought about it, the more we realized that not all newly married couples are the same. A lot of couples, especially seniors or those who get married later in life, have to think about estate planning issues in a slightly different way than younger couples do. Today, we are going to look at a couple of essential issues that newly married seniors in Florida need to think about when they consider estate planning.
Seniors, Marriage, and Spousal Inheritance Waivers
Many people who get married later in life have already acquired a lot of property. Others have already started a family, have children or grandchildren, and have people they want to protect after they die. But regardless of the circumstances, everyone who gets married in Florida earns an automatic right to inherit from their spouse upon that spouse’s death. Further, this is not a right you can forcibly remove, though it is one you can voluntarily surrender.
When seniors get married in Florida, they often want to create inheritance plans that leave as much as possible to their children, grandchildren, or other family members. Not only that, but your new spouse may not need an inheritance from you, or may not need your financial support at all. Regardless of the reason, you and your spouse can choose to voluntarily surrender your spousal inheritance rights by drafting a prenuptial agreement. Your estate planning lawyer will explain what you have to do to make a valid prenuptial agreement in the state of Florida, but as long as you are clear about your wish to surrender your spousal inheritance rights, you can protect the inheritances you want to leave to your family.
Seniors, Incapacitation, and Family Conflict
Another important issue to consider when you get married later in life is the question of the kinds of choices you want made for you on your behalf should you become incapacitated. For example, a lot of seniors have health conditions that require ongoing medical attention. Others can develop sudden, and unexpected, medical problems that leave them incapacitated or otherwise unable to make choices. Should this happen to you, do you want your spouse to be able to make decisions on your behalf? If not your spouse, what about your children, grandchildren, or someone else close to you?
Regardless of your individual desires, you need to be clear with both your new spouse and your family about what your wishes are. In many situations, conflicts can arise between family members and a new spouse when a parent or other relative becomes incapacitated and has not been clear about his or her wishes.
If you have any questions, you can contact our office for a consultation.