Living together or remarrying can affect pre-existing estate planning documents, benefits, college financial aid and incomes.  If you are considering getting married later in life, be sure to consider the following:

Estate Planning. Getting married will affect your estate plan. Even if you don’t include a new spouse in your will, in most states, spouses are automatically entitled to a share of your estate (usually one-third to one-half). A prenuptial agreement confirms that both spouses agree not to take anything from the other’s estate. Use a Trust to specify if you want to leave something to your spouse and ensure your heirs receive their inheritance.

Long-Term Care. Please recognize that getting married can affect Medicaid eligibility and long-term care responsibilities.  A long-term care insurance policy may be a good investment.

The Family Home.  Before combining households, think through home ownership, as well as who should inherit the home and where, in the event of death, the surviving spouse will live.  There are numerous solutions to ensure for the care of the spouse and children. A life estate, for instance, allows the surviving spouse to live in the house until death, after which it will pass to the original owner’s heirs.

Social Security. Many divorced or widowed seniors receive Social Security from their former spouses, and remarriage can affect benefits. If you are a widow(er) or divorced and you remarry before age 60, you will not be able to receive Social Security retirement benefits based on your deceased or divorced spouse’s work record. You will still receive benefits, however, as long as you remarry after age 60. You may also be able to collect spousal benefits from a new spouse if those benefits are higher.

Alimony. If you are receiving alimony from a divorced spouse, it will likely end once you remarry. Depending on the laws in your state and your divorce settlement, alimony may end even if you simply live with someone else.

Survivor’s Annuities. Widows and widowers of public employees, such as police officers and firefighters, often receive survivor’s annuities. Many of these annuities end if the surviving spouse remarries. In addition, widows and widowers of military personnel may lose their annuities if they remarry before age 57. Before getting married, check your annuity policy to see what the affect will be.

College Financial Aid. Single parents with children in college may want to reconsider before getting married. A new spouse’s income could affect the amount of financial aid the college student receives. Some private colleges may even count the combined income of a couple that lives together if they commingle their expenses



The Law Offices of Christopher B. Kroll & Associates can help you evaluate your estate plan if you’ve decided to remarry and make recommendations that are in your best interest.

Christopher B. Kroll and his staff take pride in serving seniors and those who love them. Our experience and knowledge of the law, government benefits programs, and crisis planning allows us to make sure that “our clients are never out of money or out of options.” Please call us at 248-923-2782 or email us at: