Ending a marriage is often an unexpected event; however, for many spouses in South Carolina, it ends up being a necessary one. Divorce is not an event that only occurs when someone is in his or her 20s, 30s or 40s. The increase in gray divorce, or rather, divorces occurring past age 50, presents a wide range of issues that their younger counterparts are no often faced with. With regards to one’s estate plan, a gray divorce could significantly impact one’s estate plan, even complicating his or her finances and retirement.

The issue with gray divorces

When an individual nears or has entered retirement age, he or she likely thinks divorce is unlikely. However, the rate of gray divorces is rising, which means it is important to assess how the divorce process impacts someone who is over the age of 50. Where an individual takes the biggest hit is in their retirement.

Additionally, when an individual get remarried later in life, he or she thinks this marriage will last a lifetime, unlike his or her first marriage. Thus, some fail to update a current estate plan, changing beneficiaries.

Important areas of an estate plan to focus on

Based on a survey conducted among those who went through a later in life divorce, it was found to impact the following three estate planning areas more often than not. This includes making decisions about his or her powers of attorney, determining appropriate Social Security benefits and drafting or updating a will.

The process of updating an estate plan or taking on these steps can be more complex than when one completes these steps when they are younger or when a divorce is not at issue. Nonetheless, one should not take on these steps only when there is an impending divorce.

No matter a person’s age or what life events he or she has gone through, it is never too soon to establish an estate plan, update an estate plan or take steps to protect against a divorce. A legal professional could help guide one through these steps, ensuring they are aware of their rights and the options available to them.