Divorce among couples 50 and older is increasing, as are life expectancy and health care costs, and estate planners and attorneys are watching this trend play out in often negative ways among their clients, according to TD Wealth.
“Gray divorce is adding another layer of complexity to the estate planning process that already arises with blended families, designation of heirs and the ever-changing domestic structures,” Raymond Radigan, head of private trust at TD Wealth, said in a statement.
“As a result, it’s more important than ever to proactively review and discuss the estate plans with our clients and their families on an ongoing basis.”
TD Wealth surveyed 112 participants in the 54th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning in January. Respondents included attorneys, trust officers, accountants, charitable giving professionals, insurance advisors, elder law specialists, wealth management professionals, educators and nonprofit advisors.
Two in five respondents said gray divorce was causing a rise in family conflict, already a significant challenge within estate planning.
In addition, 39% said retirement planning and funding were highly affected estate planning factors for divorcing couples over age 50.
Respondents noted that divorce among mature adults also influences decisions about who will be responsible for enacting power of attorney, determining appropriate Social Security benefits and drafting a will.
One wealth advisor recently opined that divorce at any age does not have to be contentious.
In its survey, TD Wealth looked beyond gray divorce to more traditional causes of family conflict for those engaged in estate planning.