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Post-divorce estate planning considerations for baby boomers

Studies and census data have shown that the divorce rate among baby boomers has risen significantly over the last couple of decades. Commonly called "grey divorce," the end of a marriage for baby boomers can lead to complications in terms of estate planning.

Often divorcing boomers have been together for many years and acquired complex assets such as businesses and real estate, and the help of a skilled financial planner is needed to ensure that the right post-divorce estate planning adjustments are made. Financial and tax matters should also be revisited if you remarry or begin living with a common-law partner after divorce.

According to 2011 data collected by Statistics Canada, 55 per cent of women and 76 per cent of men eventually entered into separate unions after divorce. Of the seniors who did this, about 75 per cent remarried, and the others lived with common-law partners.

If you are a boomer who has divorced and begun living with a new partner, then your will and other estate planning documents should be updated to reflect your wishes as they relate to your current situation. To do this, you may want to have a thorough discussion with your partner about money and property matters, including savings, spending and investments.

An estate planning lawyer can also help you and your partner get on the same page and make the right decisions to protect your and your partner's interests. With that in mind, it is a good idea to ask yourself how your relationship will affect the following matters:

  • Taxes
  • Insurance policies
  • Inheritance
  • Business succession
  • Pensions
  • Powers of attorney for personal care and for property

The Hagel Lawfirm provides an estate planning overview that may prove helpful to boomers who need to update their estate plans after divorce or separation.

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