Divorce, Remarriage and Long Term Care Planning

You might have something in common with Bill and Melinda Gates. Gray divorce. How will that impact future long-term care? How would getting married a second or third time affect long-term care planning?

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Divorce, Remarriage and Long Term Care Planning
4 Min Read July 21st, 2015 Updated:May 6th, 2021

They were married for 27 years, but now, it is over. Bill and Melinda Gates are joining the latest baby boomer phenomenon known as gray divorce. The Pew Research Center says the divorce rate for adults 50 and older in the United States has roughly doubled. It has tripled for those aged 65 and older. 

Today one in four people getting a divorce are aged 50 or older. People are also getting remarried as many of these people are starting their second or third marriages. The gray divorce rate for couples in remarriages is about 2.5 times higher than for couples in first marriages.

Re-Marriage and Long-Term Care Mean Questions 

There are many challenges when entering a new marriage when you are older and considering the consequences of longevity and long-term health care and financial considerations. 

Mixed marriages mean adult children will be less inclined to help the new "spouse." Perhaps of more significant concern, they don't want their parent's assets to be drained by their new step-parent's long-term health care costs.

If you considering divorce or find yourself entering or in a new second or third marriage, have you considered the financial costs and challenges of long-term health care?

Once you become single again, the one detail that gets completely untouched or not thought of — is the impact of long-term care. These costs are expensive. Health Insurance, including Medicare and Medicare Supplements, won't pay for a majority of these costs. Care drains savings and adversely impacts income and lifestyle.

Marital Assets are Still Assets Even With Prenuptial Agreement

If you remain single, you won't have a partner that can help, at least at the start of a long-term care need. If you remarry, as many 50+ individuals do, it places your future legacy at risk since no matter what prenuptial agreement exists, the government considers a married couple's assets, even if separate, to be marital assets. One spouse can't obtain Medicaid long-term care benefits if the other spouse has assets beyond the allowed amount.

When we are married, we assume that our partner would be there for us. We expect a spouse, if able, to help in some way if we experience something as simple as a broken arm or as complicated as Alzheimer's. Our spouse will often help to the best of their physical and emotional ability. However, the role of caregiver is physically and emotionally demands. It becomes much more difficult if you, yourself, are older. 

However, a divorce removes this built-in support from your life. Your children have their own careers and families, so don't depend on them to be caregivers. They might be younger, but they have careers, families, and other responsibilities. 

Family, Finances, and Long-Term Health Care  

The impact of long-term care is a real concern. It is traumatic. It creates a tremendous amount of stress and burden on your family. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says about half of us will experience a need for long-term health care. The consequences are more than just financial. The problem with long-term care is it affects both family and finances.

The cost of care does vary depending on your location. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you both the current and future cost of care where you live. The average cost of care in a nursing home nationally is over $100,000 a year. Care at home is less expensive but is substantial. Assisted Living facilities are also an option, but again, not cheap. How will these costs impact your lifestyle and quality of life?

Long-Term Care Insurance has become a perfect solution to provide you with guaranteed tax-free benefits that give you access to your choice of quality care, including in-home care that most people prefer. Ideally, you should consider a plan in your 40s or 50s when your health is better, and premiums are lower. However, if you are considering a divorce and/or remarriage, better start your research now to find affordable coverage now. 

Long-Term Care Insurance is Affordable Asset Protection 

These policies are not nearly as expensive as you might think. Of course, the younger and healthier at the time of purchase, the more affordable it will be. Long-Term Care Insurance is flexible and keeps you in control. Many plans have case management which will help your family find quality care in the setting you desire. 

If you now find yourself single or you find yourself with a new family, an advance plan will safeguard your savings and allow your family, even a mixed family, the time to be family.

However, if you are happily married, you should not ignore this issue. Your spouse is also getting older. We all experience many changes in our health, body, and minds as we get older. You want your family to have the time to be supportive and not face the stress and anxiety of being a caregiver.

Don't delay, as your good health gives you the option to have this vital coverage in place. Be sure to seek the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you shop all the companies and make professional recommendations. Insurance premiums vary over 100% between companies.  

Find a trusted and experienced specialist by clicking here

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

Planning for the future costs and burdens of aging is essential to a successful retirement. Divorce or re-marriage adds complications. Planning will make long-term health care easier on both your family and your assets.

Long-Term Care Insurance is custom designed and has many options. A specialist will match you, your age, and your health with the best company, so you don't spend too much money. 

Unlike what you may have read in the past, today's Long-Term Care Insurance is affordable and rate stable. Plus, several types of products are available, including hybrid or asset-based plans, spousal shared plans, and more.

A financial advisor or general insurance agent will usually not have this experience. Since premiums can vary over 100% or more between companies for the exact same coverage, it is worth your time to find the right person.

Find a trusted and experienced specialist by clicking here

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