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Survey: Rise of ‘gray divorce’ impacting estate planning

The term “gray divorce” has become media shorthand for divorces among people who are age 50 and above. While divorce is declining across most age groups, it is rising among those in this older demographic.

Along with greater life expectancy and rising healthcare costs, “gray divorce” is changing estate planning.

A survey by TD Wealth at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning in Southern Florida found that 40 percent of respondents (estate planning attorneys and other professionals) believe gray divorce is leading to increased family conflict.

A TD Wealth spokesperson said, "Gray divorce is adding another layer of complexity to the estate planning process that already arises with blended families, designation of heirs and the everchanging domestic structures.” He added that it is becoming increasingly important for estate planning pros to have regular reviews and discussions of clients’ estate plans.

Also in the survey are the following:

  • 39 percent say retirement planning and funding has been impacted by gray divorce
  • 7 percent of respondents also believe divorce among older couples is affecting power of attorney choices
  • 6 percent of respondents say divorce is affecting Social Security benefits
  • 5 percent of respondents say divorces among older clients are affecting the drafting of wills

Gray divorce isn’t the only contributor to family conflict, of course. The survey also identified the following factors:

  • 43 percent of respondents said lack of communication contributes to family conflict
  • 29 percent identified blended families as a source of family conflict
  • 13 cited disagreements over beneficiary designations

All of the issues cited in the survey can be dealt with if you have the help of an experienced Brevard County estate planning lawyer. Contact our office to get started.

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