Estate planning for a married couple generally starts by establishing some important timelines for the couple. For example, a general idea of when children will finish college, when the couple will retire and when long-term care is likely to be needed are milestones that are often important. When the couple has a significant age difference — defined as ten years or more — between them, estate planning can be somewhat more complicated because many of those milestones will not be reached at the same time for the partners in the marriage.
Retirement is a big issue when it comes to estate planning. Making sure that you have enough money socked away when you reach retirement age and making sure that you will continue to have a steady income stream after retirement are important issues in your estate plan. When one partner will be retiring a decade or more before the other partner, this can require some creative estate planning to make sure that your finances are where you want them to be. Some IRAs, for example, will allow you to take out less in your mandatory distribution if your spouse is at least ten years younger than you. Not knowing this is an option, however, can cause you to lose money by overfunding the early years of your retirement.
As with all estate planning obstacles, an age difference can be accounted for in your estate plan as long as you start planning early. Talk to your estate planning attorney now to ensure that your plan reflects the issues that go along with an age gap marriage.