Finding Love in Your Later Years Calls for Planning

Finding love and companionship again in the later part of life can be wonderful, but it can also be very complicated. Taking the plunge without proper planning can have tremendous negative consequences.

About 50% of previously married seniors remarry, while even more decide to cohabitate in an effort to make things less complicated. Unfortunately, trying to make things less complicated by not making it official, definitely doesn’t work.

Premarital planning, now more than ever, applies to seniors — a demographic who otherwise would never give it a thought. Unlike most initial marriages, each person in a later relationship has assets, families, and other critical items to consider.

If you, or your loved ones, are in such a situation, we encourage you to give it thought and talk to your advisors, because not thinking about it can make a challenging time of life even more challenging. Here are seven things (and this not an exhaustive list) to think about if you are considering remarrying or partnering with someone late in life.

7 Things to Consider When Partnering Later in Life

  1. Whose house will you live in? Who will own it and have their name(s) on the deed? What happens to the other partner’s house, if anything? What other financial implications will the housing decision precipitate?
  2. How will the marriage impact your current estate plan? How will it impact your partner’s plan? How will you protect your existing family commitments? How will your IRA and 401(k) beneficiaries change, if at all?
  3. What happens to the assets each person brings into the marriage or relationship? What will be combined and what will be kept separate? How will this be documented?
  4. Will there be income tax, or other tax consequences, to consider?
  5. Will the new relationship create future problems if medical assistance or long-term care is needed? Are you willing to pay for each other’s long-term care? What medical history does your new partner have that might impact the future years (i.e. does dementia run in the family)?
  6. What about existing/future pensions, alimony, survivor benefits, Medicaid, VA benefits, Social Security, etc.? How will these things be affected by the new relationship?
  7. How will funeral plans or burial arrangements change as a result of this relationship?

Take a Deep Breath, Take Some Time to Think, and Talk to Your Advisors

Like we said previously, this is by no means an exhaustive list. There is A LOT to think about when entering into a new relationship during the Golden Years. These are NOT fun things to think about either. Since most of us like to avoid conflict, it is common to see these items pushed down in priority.

There is no way we can cover all the possibilities in a brief article like this because the implications of a relationship at this time of life are deeply tied to the unique circumstances that each person has — family relationships, financial status, retirement status and funding, housing situation, medical status, etc. Rest assured, emotions do impact decisions on these items, too.

Most people underestimate how complicated this topic can be for them. As a result, we encourage families to take a breath, take some time to sit down and think through the items, and talk to your advisors.

We encourage anyone in this situation to give us a call at 913-345-2323. We’d be happy to sit down with you and systematically go through the possible implications along with the legal tools that can be used to mitigate the problems that can crop up when people get remarried (or choose not to remarry but still partner) later in life.

If you come to us, we will be candid and objective about it, which can be helpful if you feel emotions may be impacting your own objectivity. If you or someone you care about is considering marriage or partnership late in life, we strongly encourage you to give us a call today. All these items are solvable, and the new relationship can continue ALONG with protecting your existing family assets. We can definitely help make the transition easier.