Couples who choose to marry later in life have different concerns from those marrying earlier, and a good Bethesda estate planning lawyer can help you make the right decisions for your circumstances. Each situation is a little different, but there are some fairly common topics that should be considered:
- Do the husband and wife have grown children? If so, then the estate plans will likely need to include specific instructions regarding how inheritance will work. This is fairly important to ensure that each biological and step child receives what the parent wishes, rather than allowing Maryland laws to supersede your desires.
- Does each intend to be the beneficiary of the other? Older couples who marry may already have their own plans for their estates, and sometimes these don’t involve one another at all. If spouses do not intend to inherit from one another, they will likely need a prenuptial agreement that clearly spells this out. Without it, spouses will almost always inherit, despite plans that were made to the contrary.
- Who will pay medical expenses? If one spouse becomes ill, it may be the responsibility of the other spouse to pay for medical expenses. Again, a prenuptial agreement can help to limit this, although Medicare will usually supersede a prenuptial agreement.
- Is one person widowed? Some older couples today have chosen not to marry because it can stop pension or social security benefits from a previous marriage. This is something that should be carefully explored with your Bethesda estate planning lawyer.
- Should you have joint accounts? When older couples marry, it is sometimes recommended to keep assets separate. This extends to bank accounts and titles on property. Any assets that are in both spouses’ name can go to the survivor, even if a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise was in place.
When estate planning, older couples usually do best by choosing an independent trustee. The passing of a loved one often brings out the worst in people, so naming either your child or your spouse’s child as the trustee can have unexpected negative consequences. Your Bethesda estate planning lawyer can help you identify a good candidate or even recommend a trust company to keep your trust or will from being ignored or misused.
In addition, the estate planning lawyer can help you uncover other areas of concern that are not obvious at first glance, such as updating legal documents to reflect the new relationship and setting up powers of attorney, living trusts, etc.
If you need help and are ready to get started, simply call our Bethesda or Upper Marlboro estate planning law firm at 301-968-1630 and ask to schedule a free Peace of Mind Consultation. These sessions are normally $350, but you can come in free with the mention of this article (limited to first 20 responders).
Kinsey Law Group, P.C. was formed to focus on the needs of families. We are dedicated to assisting you in the areas of Estate Planning and Assisted Reproduction/Surrogacy. If you have questions or concerns, you’re invited to call 301-968-1630 or send an e-mail any time, without cost or obligation.
Locations: Montgomery County (Bethesda, Maryland); Prince George’s County (Largo, Maryland) and Washington, D.C.