Whether it’s your first or subsequent marriage, marrying later in life comes with its own set of financial and legal considerations. Many times, those who are marrying later in life already have adult children from a previous relationship. They may already be retired or at least have a fully fleshed out retirement plan for their later years.
As opposed to couples who are marrying at the beginning or their adult lives, if you and your sweetheart are planning on marrying later in life, you may need to spend more time thinking about how this decision will affect your children, your new spouse and your estate in order to make sure safeguards are in place to protect all of your loved ones from any negative consequences of the new relationship.
1. Your Children May Be Affected Financially
Are your children still attending college? A remarriage can affect their eligibility for financial aid. When you tie the knot with a new spouse, their income is counted as part of the total household income and it must be reported during the college financial aid application process. This is required by federal law, so the only way to protect against this is to delay remarriage until your children are finished with college.
If you have a will that specifically leaves all of your assets to your children, you might think this will still be the case even if you get remarried, but this isn’t always the case. In many states, spouses are automatically entitled to a portion of your estate – up to 50 percent of your assets. One way around this is to sign a pre-nuptial agreement voiding your new spouse’s claim to your estate. If you do wish to leave part of your estate to your new spouse, consider setting up a trust for that purpose.
2. Your New Spouse Could Be Responsible for Your Care
One of the reasons many seniors choose to cohabitate instead of marrying officially is their state’s laws on medical care. In many states, spouses are financially responsible for the other’s medical bills. If you require expensive, long-term nursing care, this can quickly tax your new spouse’s savings. How can you protect against this? Obtain a long term care insurance policy and your new spouse’s assets will be protected.
3. You Could Lose Certain Benefits
If you receive alimony from a past marriage, marrying later in life will cause alimony to cease, and it may stop even if you just live together. Surviving spouses of public employees or military members may lose pension benefits if they remarry before a certain age. The same goes for Social Security, but the policy differs depending on if you are divorced or if your previous spouse passed away.
What’s the Solution for You?
Before marrying later in life, sit down with a financial counselor and determine the best course of action on what you can do to make sure you and all of your family members have the resources and benefits needed.
You can explore your insurance options with the help of a team member at My Senior Health Plan and learn about the benefits of long term care insurance and how your Medicare eligibility is affected by marrying later in life. Get the professional advice you need today and call for a free consultation.