03 Oct Eight Reasons Why Elderly Should Not Get Married
It is not unusual that a widow or widower or someone who is elderly meets someone later in life and enjoys their companionship and love or simply enjoys traveling together. Living together without being married use to be considered strictly taboo, but the potential financial risks of being married has resulted in elderly couples simply living together without being married. Those risks or reasons include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Surviving spouse has right to live in your home.
If you own a homestead, your surviving spouse has a right to live in your home pursuant to the Texas Constitution – even if your Will or trust says otherwise. Often your children are opposed to this (to say the least).
- Election in lieu of homestead.
Under the Texas Estates Code, if the estate does not include a homestead, a surviving spouse can request an allowance from the estate of up to $45,000.
- Spousal support required if married.
What if one spouse has the great majority of the assets acquired prior to marriage (separate property) and the other spouse has health issues? There is a duty to support the ill spouse. Many are concerned about using all of their money for spousal support especially since they may have their own health issues later in life.
- Medicaid eligibility for long-term care.
Most Americans do not have long-term care insurance or adequate income or resources to pay for long-term care costs such as for nursing home care or drugs. Of course, the older we are, there is an increased risk for such care. When an ill spouse applies for long-term care Medicaid, all of the assets of the married couple are considered – even if you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. So, similar to 3 above, some choose to not marry since their assets would be at risk.
- Veteran’s benefits.
If you were married to a military veteran (and not divorced), sometimes you are entitled to potential benefits that could be lost if you remarry. For example, if you need assisted living, sometimes the widow of a wartime veteran is entitled to a pension to help pay for cost of care.
- Potential loss or reduction of Social Security.
If you are divorced (if you were married for 10 years or more) and remarry prior to age 60, then you’ll lose the Social Security income of your former spouse (but sometimes you might be entitled more income from the new spouse).
- Potential loss of pension.
If you were divorced and receive a pension benefit as part of the divorce decree – that benefit may terminate upon your remarriage (dependent on the terms of the court order).
- Potential additional income taxes on Social Security.
A single person can earn $25,000 a year before being taxed on Social Security income. A married couple pays income tax on Social Security when their combined income is only $32,000. As a result of the foregoing, many more elderly couples are choosing to live together instead of getting married. The times they are a changin’.
If interested in learning more about this article or other estate planning, Medicaid and public benefits planning, probate, etc., attend one of our free upcoming Estate Planning Essentials workshops by clicking here or calling 214-720-0102. We make it simple to attend and it is without obligation.