Estate planning is important for all married couples. Some situations make estate planning even more important. When a married couple has a substantial age gap between the partners, this can make a comprehensive estate plan crucial.
Often, when an age gap is present (defined as more than a ten year age difference), the older partner has children from a previous relationship. This means that the older spouse likely wants to provide financially for the younger spouse in the event of his or her death, but also ensure that assets remain for the children upon the death of the younger spouse. Simply leaving assets to the younger spouse and trusting that they will then be passed on to the children may work, but there is no legal guarantee that it will happen as planned.
Another facet of estate planning that is more complicated when there is an age gap is how to plan for retirement. In a same age marriage, both partners will retire at roughly the same time. When an age gap exists, financial planning for retirement can be a bit more complicated. The younger spouse may be at the height of his or her career at the time the older spouse is set to retire. This can result in a false sense of financial security given the younger spouse’s income.
There are a number of estate planning tools that can help resolve issues that come up in an age gap marriage. The key is to talk to your estate planning attorney early on to ensure that all of the issues are resolved in a way that provides for everyone involved.