An increasing number of people over 50 are deciding to share a living arrangement with a partner rather than get married. There are about 18 million people of all ages in these relationships, the Pew Research Center notes, up about 30 percent in less than a decade.
About one-quarter of them are 50 or older, and that number has jumped 75 percent in the same period. Here is some advice on the financial-related issues for older couples starting a new chapter together. Here is some advice from the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Write a Will
Creating or updating a will is a way of ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your death and that your assets go to the people or organizations that you wish. If you aren’t married to your partner, be aware that he or she generally does not have a claim on your estate if he or she is not named in your will. Your assets will be distributed based on the laws in your state, which will generally favor family members. A will becomes an important tool, then, if you want to leave something to a surviving partner.
Make Healthcare Designation Decisions
What happens if you are seriously injured or ill and unable to make medical decisions for yourself? Unfortunately, your partner may not be able to take charge unless you’ve made provisions in advance. Two documents can help. A durable power of attorney for finances designates someone to make financial decisions for you when you can’t do so, and a medical durable power of attorney for healthcare establishes who will make healthcare choices.
Manage Financial Consequences
If you’re uncertain whether to marry or not, consider the impact it could have on various financial concerns. For example, if either or both partners are receiving alimony or Social Security benefits based on a former spouse’s earnings record, those would generally cease upon remarriage. It may still be possible, however, to receive Social Security survivor’s benefits based on the work record of a deceased spouse if you wait until age 60 or later to remarry. Your CPA can help you understand and make decisions about your specific situation.
More information here.