Divorce, Remarriage and the
Distribution of Assets

Seniors own the bulk of our nation’s wealth in savings, home equity and other property. At this point in your life, you may have more at stake when you change your marital status. Or, you may be a widow living on Social Security income alone. If you choose to remarry or get a divorce, consider the impact of your decision on your finances.


Can I protect my assets for my children and family if I remarry?
Yes. Everything acquired before the marriage can remain your sole and separate property as long as you keep it separate and do a Will, trust or other legal document that states who you want the property to go to upon your death.

Further, you can do either a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement to ensure that everything you have acquired, or everything you will acquire, during the new marriage remains your sole and separate property.

star Grandparents' Rights

Is it true that I will pay higher federal income taxes if I get remarried?
Possibly. About 40% of married people do pay higher federal income taxes than those who are single with the same tax circumstances. About 50% will pay less, and the rest about the same amount of taxes. The possibility of a penalty for paying jointly increases at about the 25% tax bracket, but overall, the “marriage penalty” tax is not as universal as once believed. You should have your specific tax circumstances analyzed by a tax professional before remarrying.

Do I need to change my Will in order to remove my ex-spouse as a beneficiary to that Will or other documents in which I named my ex-spouse as a beneficiary?

No, if your will was signed during the marriage, your divorce automatically revokes any provisions naming your ex-spouse as a beneficiary or as an executor. However, if you do not want your ex-spouse to receive benefits from your life insurance or individual retirement accounts, you will have to change the beneficiary designations on those accounts.

If I get divorced, can I still get Social Security benefits on my
ex-spouse’s work record?

Yes, if your ex-spouse is receiving benefits or is deceased, so long as you were married to him/her for at least 10 years, and so long as you remain single. If your ex-spouse is 62 years old or older and has not applied for benefits, you can still receive benefits on her/his record as long as you are at least 62 as well. You must, however, be divorced and single for at least two years before seeking such benefits.

Will I continue to receive Social Security benefits as a widow or widower if I remarry?
Yes, if you are at least 60 years old when you remarry. A widow or
widower isn't actually eligible for benefits until 60 or, if disabled, until
age 50. Or you could apply to receive benefits based on your new spouse’s work record instead if those benefits would be higher. If you remarry before turning 60 however, you will be ineligible for widow’s benefits throughout your marriage.

See Resources

If I have been living together with another person for some years without being married and that person passes away, will
I be responsible for that person’s debts?

No. Nevada is not a common-law marriage state. In order to have a valid marriage in Nevada, you must obtain a marriage license and have a ceremony as approved by the laws of Nevada. If there is no valid marriage, you have no responsibility for paying the debts of the other person as long as you have not agreed to pay that person’s debts.
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