Widows and the Financial Dangers Associated with Remarriage

Many times when a widow remarries, unseen financial challenges in addition to a new marriage occur. Unfortunately, this means that many times what widows see as great matches quickly evaporate into economic despair. Fortunately, financial advisors and estate planning attorneys can help to avoid such undesirable results. 


    Remarriage leaves widows financially exposed. Various strategies, however, can greatly reduce this risk while also protecting assets from a new spouse who might have questionable intentions. Many couples, unfortunately, overlook the fact that what most widows want more than anything is to feel safe and secure about the future. This article reviews some helpful estate planning steps whether you’re a recent or long-time widower to make sure that your assets remain protected.


Beneficiary Designations


It’s critical for surviving spouses to review all of the beneficiary designations found on estate planning documents as well as retirement accounts and other accounts that pass independently of estate planning tools. This remains true whether these accounts are in the surviving spouse or deceased spouse’s names. If a spouse receives retirement funds, it’s important to review these retirement accounts to make sure that they are properly updated. 


Durable Power of Attorney


A durable power of attorney appoints an individual to act on your behalf when navigating financial issues if you become incapacitated or no longer able to make financial decisions. A durable power of attorney is a powerful tool, but it’s a common practice for spouses to name each other “agent”. In these situations, the surviving spouse should make sure to update the document by naming a new individual to act in this role. The surviving spouse should also decide whether the power of attorney will be used at any time or only when the spouse becomes incapacitated. If a power of attorney is not in place and the surviving spouse cannot sign documents, the spouses will usually need to proceed to court.


HIPAA Release Form


Strict laws address how medical details can be released. For anyone to ask about your medical history or receive your medical records if a health care proxy is not involved, you must sign a HIPAA release. These documents are helpful if you can still make your own health care decisions but are interested in having someone speak to your medical provider to obtain medical details. 


Health Care Proxies


A health care proxy, which is sometimes referred to as medical power of attorney, is utilized when a person cannot communicate about health care decisions on his or her own. If a deceased spouse was named as the agent, the surviving spouse should make sure to adequately update this form. If a surviving spouse no longer has an alternative, it’s time to make a new health care proxy. 



Talk to a Knowledgeable Elder Law Attorney Today


Deciding what estate plan will work best for you can be an overwhelming process. To make sure that you create the best estate planning strategy possible, one of the best steps that you can take is to speak with an experienced elder law attorney. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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