06 Dec Falling in Love After 65
No one is ever too old to fall in love. And more Americans are remarrying or living together later in life than ever before. This is due, in large part, to increasing life expectancy. According to data from the Social Security Administration, if a man reaches the age of 65 today he can expect to live until about 84. A woman who turns 65 today will live, on average, until almost 87.
Older adults do not want to spend their last decades alone. A 2014 Pew Research Center notes that remarriage among divorced or widowed adults ages 55 and over is on the rise. In 2013, two-thirds (67%) of previously married adults ages 55 to 64 had remarried, up from 55% in 1960. And 50% of adults ages 65 and older had remarried, up from just 34% in 1960.
For a number of reasons, some older couples are choosing to live together, rather than marry. In a 2017 report, Pew Research Center states, 4% of adults 50 and over are cohabitating. The majority (57%) of these couples are in their 50s. About 30% of older adults living together are in their 60s, 10% are in their 70s, and 3% are in their 80s.
Entering into a new relationship later in life gives seniors the chance to experience love and happiness once again, especially after the loss of a partner. However, unlike a couple starting out in their 20s, older adults need to consider a number of factors before deciding whether to marry or live together.
Since laws vary by state, it is essential to consult with an estate attorney in your area before getting married as an older adult. Estate planning will ensure that your investments, money in bank accounts, real estate, and other assets will be legally transferred to your heirs (while minimizing tax consequences) upon your death. Many people who marry later in life intend to leave the bulk of their assets to their children from a previous marriage, or other family members. However, even if a spouse is specifically not included in a will, many states have so-called “elective share” laws. This allows a surviving husband or wife to claim portion of a deceased spouse’s estate. A prenuptial agreement is also an essential part of estate planning for older adults who remarry or marry for the first time.
Medical Bills and Long-Term Care
Marriage makes you legally responsible for all your spouse’s medical bills and it is often the reason couples decide to live together rather than marry. While Medicare covers a variety of medical costs, it does not pay for hearing aids, dental/vision care, chiropractic treatment, and most foot care. In addition, although Medicare does cover the first 100 days in a rehabilitation center or skilled care facility (following a 3-day inpatient hospital stay), it does not cover long-term care in an assisted living facility, skilled care, or board and care home. And the cost of long-term care can range from $42,000 to over $100,000 annually. In addition, Medicare does not cover the cost of hiring a home health care aide which averages $19.00 per hour.
Medicaid will cover the cost of long-term care once income and asset levels meet a determined level. Medicaid counts a married couple’s combined assets when determining eligibility. The spouse who remains at home is generally allowed to keep only a certain amount of assets. However, an unmarried partner’s investments, savings and other assets usually aren’t counted at all unless those assets are jointly owned.
Some couples who marry, especially if both have higher incomes, can be hit with an increased “marriage penalty” tax compared to filing the same income as a single person.
Widows or widowers who remarry before the age of 60 can lose their deceased spouse’s survivor benefits. If you remarry after the age of 60, these social security spousal benefits will not be affected.
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