Remarriage: Financial Tips for Seniors
Posted on June 30, 2015
Updated 8/31/15 9:20am |
Here at Alert1 we love to hear the chimes of bells and the sound of sweet wedding
vows being exchanged. Frank Sinatra was on to something when he sang,
"love is lovelier the second time around.” Today, many seniors are getting
hitched, for the second time around!
Finding love later in
life is unexpected and exciting. Love is the
gift every senior woman wants. This breath of fresh air will make Mom feel
You can’t predict when
love will come along and change everything. But that’s the catch, it changes
everything. Marriages in the golden years are joyful, but it will take time to
get used to the idea of Mom getting married. But, hopefully you can share some
of her joy.
However much you may (or
may not) love your new stepparent, your first question is probably about the
family’s assets. Encourage Mom to stay open about the planned financial set up.
A third party attorney will help relieve some tension and make the whole
process easier for everyone.
Elderly couples have
more significant assets than a young couple. Seniors
must be wise when establishing financial responsibilities. Here are some
things to think about when helping Mom with her finances.
The Estate and Your Senior's Property
Is Mom remaining in her
own home, moving in with her spouse, or buying a new house? Moving in together
is a big change that will require more than just a financial discussion. Talk
openly with Mom about what moving will entail. If she needs to downsize, she
might need your help in deciding what she needs to bring and what she can toss.
Regardless of where your senior moves, they can always bring
a personal emergency response system to their home away from home.
understand the fiscal
responsibilities and legalities of each state. In many states, up to
one-half of the estate will automatically go to Mom’s partner - even if the new
spouse is not in the will. Talk with Mom about where she wants her estate to
go. Consider estate waivers or bonus payments so that the surviving partner is able
to stay living at home.
Older Adults Need to Plan Ahead
The new couple should
discuss this early on. A prenuptial agreement does not mean they are planning a
divorce or don’t trust the new spouse. Instead, it shows that they recognize
the seriousness of a marriage commitment. They have more significant assets
than a young couple and must establish financial responsibilities.
An attorney will need to
carry this agreement out. Be sure Mom’s wishes are heard. Matrimonial lawyers
are trained for creating these documents and will show your Mom how to make
sure her assets go where she wants them to.
Your parent and new
spouse should establish
their retirement plans together. Will they have enough retirement income to
live in comfort? Will they want to relocate? Encourage the couple to talk about
their plans before they tie the knot.
Changes to Senior Income
Mom and her new spouse
should think about keeping assets in separate bank accounts. They can also open
one joint account where they both equally deposit income every month. They can
use the combined account to
pay utility or phone bills, buy groceries, and take out money needed on a
daily basis. This can reduce the hassle of combining accounts.
If Mom wishes for you
and their grandchildren to receive an inheritance, she needs to update her
will. Urge her to consult an attorney so that her wishes will be carried out.
Social security and
If Mom has a survivor
benefit payment plan, benefits from her former spouse’s earning are lost if she
is remarrying before age 60 (or if she’s disabled, 50). This will affect Mom’s
retirement income and ability to age in place, worry and risk-free.
On the other hand, Mom’s
new spouse might bring with them better benefits. Talk with an attorney about
how Mom’s income will change.
Medicaid provides long
term health care and services for those that need financial help. Mom’s
marriage can be affected if she qualifies. All assets from both spouses are
taken into account, regardless of whose money it is. Medicaid also ignores
prenuptial agreements. Learn the advantages
of a medical alert system and how it compares to long-term care.
Alimony from a former
spouse is also usually cut off when the other gets married. It could even be
terminated when Mom moves in with her new partner. Mom should plan
Protect Your Parents’ Wishes
You might be concerned that Mom’s spouse will take
advantage of her financial situation. While Mom is creating agreements with her
new spouse, she should consider what will happen if one of them breaks that
agreement. Consider using financial penalties and a trust agreement just in
Marriage is a big step. The financial aspect can be
overwhelming, but with your help Mom will get everything set up the way she
wants it. Then everyone can celebrate the new relationship with the joy that it
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