Mirit Hoffman
Focusing on the elderly and their families

Love never gets old

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This Tuesday evening is Tu B’Av, which is considered the Jewish ”Day of Love”. During the Second Temple period, on the 15th day of the month of Av, Jewish men looking for a wife would go to the vineyards of ancient Judea where Jewish women dressed in white would dance in hopes of finding a husband. In modern times, Tu B’Av is celebrated in a similar way to “Valentine’s Day”.

Because life expectancy is now longer, many older people find themselves newly single, either because they are divorced or widowed, and they begin yet again to look for a new relationship.

As we all know, romance does not stop at any age so although the decision to pursue a relationship can be difficult as we get older, it is still something worthwhile doing for many. Intimacy and companionship are an important part of life and contribute greatly to our happiness, health, and overall well-being.

If you sense the timing is right, you may feel that you want to discuss your decision to date with your adult children. They may be more supportive than you would expect and even offer “dating advice” or help you choose appropriate “dating” places. On the other hand, it may be difficult for them to see you with someone other than their other parent and they may get upset with the idea or even be against it. Although it is worth listening to your children’s concerns and opinions, you should remember that at the end of the day, ultimately, the choice to date is yours.

For those who find love a second time around, once things get serious and you are thinking of marriage, it is important to contemplate the following legal considerations:

  1. Estate Planning: I strongly suggest reviewing your estate plan to make sure your assets will be distributed the way you want them to be after you die. It is particularly important if you want to provide for your children from your previous marriage. You will need to write a will if you want to make sure that your beneficiaries (i.e. your children) get what you intend. Without a will, your new spouse may get some of your inheritance according to the Israel Inheritance Law, and that is not necessarily what your intentions are.
  2. A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is something you may want to consider with a second marriage. According to Israeli law, every married couple who shares a household is subject to what is known as the “Resource Balance Arrangement”, a law of partnership and shared property that indicates an equal division of assets for a couple. This means that all property that has been accumulated by both or one of the spouses during the marriage, will be considered joint property, which will belong to both spouses equally. It will be divided in half when the relationship ends. The only way to have any alternate arrangement is through a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement allows you to indicate which assets will belong to each person and which assets will be shared after you pass on.
    I recently had the honor of preparing a new will for a client who had gotten engaged at the age of 75. She met her fiancé at a senior citizen home in Herzliya and her family is thrilled with the fact that she has found happiness again after being a widow for over ten years.  The client wanted to make sure that her children would be the sole beneficiaries of her estate and understood the importance of stating that in a will.

Finding love the second time around can come with many challenges. Preparing a prenuptial agreement and a will can help avoid some of them.

Wishing us all a Tu B’Av Samech!

The above is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not a substitute for legal consultation. Specific legal advice should be sought in accordance with the particular circumstances.

About the Author
Mirit is a mother of three treasures and an attorney since 1996 who advises on all aspects of elder law. This includes Guardianship issues, and inter-generational transfer planning for individuals including preparing Wills, Trusts and Enduring Powers of Attorney's. She gives lectures on these important topics throughout the country, and has a column on the website Kipa discussing the relationship between grown up children and their elderly parents (a.k.a the "Sandwich Generation"). Coming from a strong background of U.S. and Israeli Taxation, Mirit has a holistic approach to issues concerning both jurisdictions and look at the bigger picture when dealing with concerns that involve dual citizenship. Currently her private practice is in Beit Shemesh.
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