When You Are Suddenly Single

Did you ever think that one day, the marriage you committed to decades ago would be over? Or that you would find your spouse of forty years dead on the floor in his man cave? 

That was my experience. It happened the morning we were signing the contract to remodel the house. Gone was the guy who was going to manage the remodel project. Gone was the partnership I’d counted on in sickness and in health. And long-term care.

I was suddenly single

Finding oneself suddenly single can be the result of death or divorce.

In my situation, it was death. Because of my work, we had planned for long-term care, which was challenging as my husband was not insurable, given his health history. Our revocable trust had the critical documents that morning – powers of attorney and advance health care directive.

Emotional? Of course. But we had planned.

And then there is divorce

Emotional? You bet. Most divorces are family affairs and an extremely difficult time for the family.

The objective in most divorce settlements is to provide equitable division of assets and property. And to minimize the divorce’s impact on kids, both short-term and long-term, which is just one of the reasons why long-term care insurance (LTCI) should be addressed in divorce settlements just as health care and life insurance are.

If the couple does not have LTCI, while still married is the best time to secure this insurance as there can be significant discounts when married couples apply together even if both have individual policies and different coverage. Or, if only one spouse desires coverage.

Getting remarried?

Especially important is LTCI in second or third marriages. Why? In second and third marriages, both spouses usually bring assets from earlier marriages. In many cases, the children of the first or an earlier marriage may not be crazy about the new wife/husband. And when they see their inheritance being spent on long-term care for dad’s new bride or mom’s new hubby, it does not lead to happy family relationships.

With LTCI, assets brought to a second or third marriage can be protected for wealth transfer as planned by each spouse.

Is long-term care insurance in divorce a big deal? Yes! Consider that about 30% to 40% of all first marriages end in divorce. That’s down from 50% a decade ago. But second and third marriages actually fail at higher rates. And gray divorce is on the rise. That’s divorce among adults aged 50 and older.