Finding someone to share your life with can be exhilarating, especially for older New Yorkers who have the chance to remarry after a divorce or the death of a spouse. Unfortunately, romance isn’t the only thing that should be on your mind when considering a late-in-life marriage. There are financial, medical, and legal issues to sort out before tying the knot. The good news is that an elder law attorney can walk you through everything you need to know.
What to Consider Before Getting Married as a Senior Citizen
Aside from companionship, there are clear and obvious tax benefits to marriage that make it an attractive proposition. A change in marital status can have unexpected financial downsides, however, particularly when dealing with long-term care. Signing a marriage certificate can potentially interfere with:
- Alimony from a previous marriage
- Disability benefits
- Estate planning
- Financial aid for college-aged children
- Medicaid eligibility
- Planning for who will keep the family home or run the family business
- Social Security payments or survivor's annuities from a deceased spouse
The primary issue that may interfere with your wedding plans is how your new spouse’s income is used to calculate eligibility for any number of programs. Medicaid coverage for a nursing home stay, college financial aid to children, and even Social Security Administration disability benefits can all be negatively impacted. Depending on your health and current finances, getting married can actually cause financial ruin.
Of course, there are options for getting around these potential issues. In some cases, trusts and other asset protection strategies can safeguard the property and wealth you’ve built up over your life. In other situations, however, the best option may be to simply not get married and legally remain single.
If you do take the plunge, you need to talk to an attorney about a prenuptial agreement as well as updating existing legal documents. Your will, beneficiaries for life insurance accounts, and any trusts you’ve previously set up all need an update to reflect your current marital status.
Talk to an Experienced Attorney Before Making Any Decisions
Marriage is a joyful event, but it can cause significant problems for senior citizens without proper planning. Get in touch with our Brooklyn office to discuss the pros and cons of remarrying and find the best path towards a stable financial future with your partner.