Considering Later Life Divorce
- Understanding the emotional response: Overwhelming, emotional, empowering or devastating? Welcoming support means receiving non- judgmental empathy, understanding, and perhaps silence? For those seniors who were not welcoming this new found single status, you may seek a renewed confidence to be able to find strength in a suddenly new world. Normalizing the event brings calm.
- Financial recovery: Being older shortens the time available to recover financially particularly if there was a difficult long drawn out experience to settle the family’s legal issues. Obtaining professional advice to understand the scope of your financial position including tax issues, maturity dates of different investment instructions, liabilities and other information unique to your circumstances is a wise step to take.
- Claiming possible legal entitlements: For some seniors, depending on their personal and marital property circumstances and resources available, they may be able to claim”
- sole designated irrevocable beneficiary of a life insurance policy held by their estranged spouse with a sufficient face value to support them after years of financial dependency
- spousal support ideally without conditions and free from tax considerations
- delaying the granting of the divorce order to continue entitlement on an estranged spouse’s employment health plan
- Division of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) credits and if the other spouse is a member of an Ontario pension plan governed by the Pension Benefits Act legislation, the sharing of an employment pension
Divesting of any interest in a family business
- Retirement becomes another life stepping stone to transition into for many separating older adults. Investment plans may have been reduced through a division of marital property or the spouse may be increasing a retirement financial instrument. In both scenarios, receiving competent investment advice is a good course of action.
Revise your Will and Powers of Attorneys
- The bequests, legacies, debts, and tax consequences of a Will are just a few of the legal concerns to be considered when a senior is separating and divorcing. Ensure all entitled benefactors are people and organizations remain worthy in your mind. And that nominated trustees and as well as substitute trustees remain appropriate and trustworthy and interested in continuing with this role. A wills and estates lawyer and tax consultant may prove valuable advisors.
- Your Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and Property may require a new attorney as former spouses are not able to continue in the role. Care should be taken with naming a new attorney and the powers entrusted to him or her with your property and the scope of medical decisions to be made on your behalf.
- Obtain your own support advisory and professional networks including investment advisor, tax accountant, and healthcare plan providers from the team who may have been shared with your former spouse. Ensure that there are no conflicts of interest by interviewing your advisors, and if necessary, setting up a new team.
Separating and divorcing can mean different things to each of us. Ask questions. Be informed about later life legal issues which may arise in your circumstances. Please contact my office or call me at 416 596-8081. We will respond to your call as soon as possible.