The Kids Will Be All Right. When Senior Parents Remarry.

April 2, 2013 | Cohabitation Agreements,Enduring Powers of Attorney,Personal Directives,Wills and Adult Children

I  frequently deal with seniors who are embarking on a new relationship after the death of a partner. Often there are adult children of a previous union and the parents are concerned about how to handle any inheritance issues. These are good questions to address before any irrevocable changes are made that might affect assets or real property.

Recently I dealt with a senior couple whose respective first spouses had died and they decided they would move into his house together. Both had worked hard and raised families during their prior marriages. They each wanted to ensure that their respective adult children shared in what they had accumulated over the years with their former spouses. They were also concerned to provide for each other.

After reviewing their completed Will Questionaires and meeting with them I recommended they not only do their Wills but also do:

  1. EPOA/PD- to ensure that in case of incapacity they were each looked after by someone they knew and trusted; and
  2. A Cohabitation Agreement or Estate Property Agreement outlining their understanding. In this instance each owned a home but they chose to live in his. When she died, hers was to be sold and the money given to her children. If he died and she was alive, she could live in the house so long as she wanted, and was able, or died, at which time the house reverted to his adult children to sell and divide the proceeds.

This happened to be the strategy that met the needs of this particular couple but there are many different options that you can and should discuss with your legal counsel if you are in this situation. It never hurts to ask lots of questions and knowing your wishes will be respected and your children protected can bring tremendous peace of mind.