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There are some unknowns here and the future is a bit uncertain but I'd like any input. Background is Mom has lived with significant other (SO) and cared for him for over 20 years. They did not get married and live in Florida which doesn't recognize common law marriage. Mom has very small SS because she retired early (with his encouragement). They live in his home in FL. SO is now very ill with encephalopathy and likely dementia and is no longer mobile. The encephalopathy is a result of intense antibiotic treatment to try to cure infections he kept getting as a result of multiple surgeries over the years after bladder cancer 25 years ago. Mom has basically waited on him hand and foot and took care of his needs since then. Mom does not have POA, I believe his Son does and from what I understand his estate, probably in the mid to high 6 figures, is willed to his kids. But I do not know for sure. Anyway, we thought SO was terminal because he couldn't eat a few days ago but he appears to have recovered enough to eat a little and the plan is to send him to rehab. Mom is 80, he is 75. He is a retired teacher, does not have Medicare but pretty good insurance although I don't know how what it is going to cover as far as rehab. I don't foresee him coming back home but who knows. I've asked her gently if she knows about what the insurance covers as far as rehab and beyond and she doesn't have any idea. She's not really concerned. Should she be? I think her plan is to stay in the house while he's in rehab but I worry about the financial end of it for her.

It sounds like she has no assets co-owned with him or any kind of joint income. She had her stuff and he had his. Even in common law states, simply living together does not a common law marriage make. You also have to do other things, such as hold out to public/friends that you are married, file tax together, etc. Since Florida doesn't recognize any common law situations (after the late 1960's), remaining in the home after he dies is probably not likely unless his children happen to be very generous.. Probably going to come down to whatever he might have left for her in his will.

It also sounds like this of interest to you because she could find herself looking for a place to live. Without just asking her what she's going to get when he passes, perhaps ask her if she plans to stay in Florida if/when something happens. Then you could dig a little deeper as to if 'they' have life insurance for each other or savings accts to see if she has a plan for income she might need. Maybe they have talked all this out and that's why she's not concerned.
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Reply to my2cents
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If for no other reason your mother should get her own attorney to investigate if your mother is entitled legally to live in his house if he passes away. We’re talking about basic roof over her head - important things and not unrealistic demands of his estate to take care of herself.

If he hasn’t made any provisions for your mother now is the time for her to ask her SO if she is in his will or not. Too many unknowns and she needs clarity. If mom is too soft spoken or for some other reason isn’t willing to ask SO then as her daughter I would be in the picture & everyone would know I am there to assure my mother will be taken care of.

Good luck! I hope SO left the house to your mother at least.

I’d push for marriage as well. If legally she becomes his wife it gives mom some leverage over the SO’s kids.
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Please make sure that your mother is on Medicare - edit, I see that you said she is. Also, you should hire an elder law attorney. Is the reason why your mother never remarried is that she planned to claim half of her ex husband's SS income? It is too bad that she cancelled Medicare Supplemental due to its cost.
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mstrbill Nov 27, 2019
No, my father had a stoke and became disabled at 60. Mom felt he needed the income more than the added income would help her at the time. Their divorce was amicable. From what she told me it was a mutual agreement between her and her SO not to marry, but he was likely the one behind that.
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An elder law specialist is a must. There are so many variables and he is possibly at a turning point in his care in that he is entering a much more expensive phase, particularly if he required long-term care. Your mom and her partner need to know all options. It takes time.
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Oh my goodness I am so sorry to hear this. For all the time Mom hasn't spoken to her SO about what will become of her should he predecede? I am heartbroken for her and cannot see a thing that can be done now that the family will not undo. If this is a monied man then this is likely in trust and may not even be filed as probate so Mom may not know for some time if ANYTHING has been left to her. Are they not on any accounts together? This is heartbreaking and I cannot think of a thing that can be done. Please update us. This is just so very worrisome.
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mstrbill Nov 26, 2019
Thanks Alva, no accounts together, his house alone, not sure if he's made a recent will. Mom has told me in the past that his kids came first or something to that effect.
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I'm responding to your reply to my answer. If your mother and father were married at least 10 years, she is eligible for 50% of his SS or hers, whichever is higher. She can't have both benefits, but the higher amount. She can claim that at any time...even if she didn't claim it right away--she can claim it now. Look at www.ssa.gov and it will give you lots of information about spousal benefits.

Again, if you started writing questions for an EL attorney in Florida, you would have your answers. While she is staying in the house, you can work with her to get answers to questions and start planning. Best!!!
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mstrbill Nov 26, 2019
If my Mother claimed his benefits now, what would happen on his end. He has advanced Parkinson's and is on LTC Medicaid and in a SNF. So most of his SS check goes to the SNF. (Nursing Home). if they decreased his check, I'm wondering how that would affect the NH and Medicaid?
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I didn’t read all of the replies, but if he can sign a legal document, they can do a Right of Survivorship. That gives the home to the survivor of an unmarried couple. I did this years ago, with my fiancée. It’s a easy process, I wish your mom the best.
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mstrbill Nov 26, 2019
I'ts unclear, and IMO doubtful he would do anything like that. Unfortunately.
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Thank you all for the continued advice. I don't have time right now, but will update and answer more later/tomorrow. As of now, SO is waiting for a bed in a rehab facility to try to improve his mobility. He has recovered quite a bit from the encephalopathy but still cannot walk. Knowing him, he will not want to stay there for long so we'll see how it goes. Mom will stay at the house for now, if he does come home, I'm not sure she won't be able to handle caring for him alone. As far as his finances, I (nor she) likely has any idea what the insurance will cover as far as the rehab. I will update as needed, thanks all for the support.
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ArtMom58 Nov 27, 2019
mstrbill: please look at these two resources below at the Social Security Administration for divorced spousal benefits. Lately I was told that a marriage license and a divorce decree would have to be filed with the SSA as proof of marriage and divorce. But other than that, your mother should be able to claim 1/2 your dad's benefits and he will never know, and it will not affect his social security.
https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/yourdivspouse.html
https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html
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You need to encourage your Mom to speak to her SO about what her life will be like if he is gone. If they have a loving relationship he will accommodate her. I wouldn't bring his kids in on it at this point. If you need to speak with him on her behalf, by all means do so. Don't wait until the bridge has burned. Are you close enough you can visit? I would ask him point blank.."What provisions have you made for my Mom in the event of your untimely death". Time to be "gentle" is over. JMO and good luck to you.
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Reply to Samsung137
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My cousin lives in a similar situation-they did not marry because of the legal implications and loss of lifelong pension benefits/insurance (which is wrong in and of itself, but that is another post! Haha) she has something written in his will that gives her the right to live in that house with a stipend held in trust by the estate to take care of the taxes, insurance and maintenance on the house for the rest of her life, or as long as she lives there. Then the house and it’s sale will roll over to his daughters.
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See a very good lawyer.
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mstrbill Nov 26, 2019
See my response to ArtMom, I'm not sure if a lawyer would be helpful or not, if it would make a difference in FL
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The only fair thing to do is split the estate between your mother and his children. But someone has to talk to him. She would have enough to move somewhere and find a place of her own. If he is of sound mind he could change it.
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If your mom’s SO is of sound enough mind, I’d implore her talk to him about her precarious situation and make arrangements with his attorney to provide for her.

My dad’s SO’s children kicked him out of their home when he couldn’t buy them out. That was after he cared for her through her long final illness (and made himself sick in the process).
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I think I am understanding her situation, as I was in the same boat. I have lived with a man for 28 years now.  We are not married and our state does not recognize common law marriage.  I had to insist that he put my name on the house because I have put money and time into our lives, our things...our home.  He is 13 years older than me and I explained that I would be homeless if something happened to him and if he didn't care about my future well being, I needed to leave.  He understood my concern and put my name on the house.  The big difference between my situation and hers is that my SO doesn't have children.  Sad to say, but if your mother's SO did not make provisions for her, she will indeed be in a life changing world of hurt should he pass or go into a facility permanently.  There is no way to "gently" have that conversation with your mom.  Your mother waiting on him hand and foot for 20 yrs only preserved the inheritance his children will get...it didn't provide a safety net for her.  If she has a good relationship with his children, she could flat out ask them if provisions have been made for her...then she would know for sure what she needs to do.
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mstrbill: make sure your mother is on Medicare -- that will cover any medical -- her deductible will come out her Social Security. Do some investigating to see if she should be on a supplemental plan. Google, Google, Google. Also, you can call a Florida Elder Law Attorney and have a consult for an hour-ish. It might cost $300 for the hour, but you can have some real answers for your mother's situation. This is especially the case if your mother could stay in his house. What might happen if he goes into a care facility is the children might say they have to sell the house to pay the expenses for his care. It's a legitimate reason, because care facilities are averaging $10K a month! But if your mother has some rights to it, you need to know NOW, not after the drama has started to unfold. You need to protect your mother and you can do this with some calls to an Elder Attorney. The more you know, the more you can plan.
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mstrbill Nov 26, 2019
She is on Medicare. She was on a supplemental, but told me she dropped it recently. Her SS check is not large, I don't know the exact figure but I think somewhere over $1100/month. She decided to retire early, before 62 and took a lump sum pension that went into the market in the late 90's when it was high. You know the rest, the market tanked, Mom lost a lot, got scared, withdrew and that pension money is gone. She started collecting SS early so that's small too. She also didn't claim part of my father's because she was in a decent situation at the time and my father was not- had a stroke and was disabled. Now he's in a NH, I have no idea if she could claim part of his now or not as his SS goes to the NH. She didn't need much all these years because she was with someone who took care of basic needs, but now she's sort of become imprisoned by it. I'm pretty sure she doesn't have any rights as FL doesn't recognize common law so I'm not sure what an attorney could do.
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Mr.Bill; is your mom in Texas? I know that is a state on which the teachers union has opted out of both Medicare and SS.

What is her plan for the future?

If she is not concerned, and if she has no cognitive issues, I'm not sure why you need to be concerned. As long as she understands that you are not a retirement option.
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TXGirl82 Nov 26, 2019
OP says they live in FL.

His mom may not be concerned because she isn't thinking about what her future will hold when her partner is gone. Unfortunately, that isn't uncommon.

If my mom were in that situation, I would be afraid for her (and maybe irritated at her), but I would still step in to help.
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Mstbill, just my opinion but yes your mom should be concerned. Have you actually sat down and had a discussion with your mom about her & SO’s wills/trusts? Have you asked your mom if SO has his affairs in order and if she knows for sure everything is left to his kids? I will say that it’s not that uncommon for unmarried people in a long term relationship to leave everything to the kids. So if you haven’t actually had conversations with your mom about this, I think you should. Did she move in to his house? Maybe he’s left her a life estate & she can remain in the house the rest of her life and it will go to his kids when your mom passes or moves out? If her sole income is a small social security check, she needs to start planning for the future because it sounds like he will either pass away sooner than later OR he won’t return home and there could be an issue with the house and his kids. She needs to worry about her financial well being.

Some assets he may not have been able to leave to her even if he wanted to. My MIL was a public employee too, also unmarried and in a 20+ year relationship and when she retired she had 2 options-1 option was where she would receive more money every month and when she died, her personal contributions to her retirement (if any were left) would be forfeited, or she could receive less money every month and upon her death, whatever was left of her contributions would go to her husband or children. She chose the 2nd option and since she died less than 2 years after she retired, her kids got most of her personal contribution. She did not want to leave it to her significant other and even if she wanted to, the public employees retirement system wouldn’t allow it. And when she was told to get her affairs in order, she did not leave any money to her SO. Everything went to the kids. All he got was a car and a life estate, and the use the furniture and household items. They bought the house together 18 years earlier but her name was on the deed. The only thing she would agree too getting her affairs in order was a life estate for her SO with the house going to her 3 children and his 2 children upon his death or should he move out. They both paid for the house but he has no financial interest in it and cannot sell it or anything even though he did buy it with her.

The only reason I can think of, to consult an attorney over, is the house. She may have a financial interest in the house even if she isn’t on the deed and he bought it before they were together. I think she would have to show that she helped pay the mortgage. Some states also have protections for family caregivers, not the Medicaid exemption that allows a caregiver to stay in the home, this is a state law in some states and she might have rights to the house if she has been a primary caregiver for years. I would try to do as much research as possible on both of these things before you go out and get an attorney because an attorney will cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! But other than that, I don’t know that she has a reason to go get an attorney. She’s been his spouse so I don’t know that she would be prevail if she went after his kids for compensation after he dies.
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rovana Nov 22, 2019
But was she his spouse? If they did not marry, and Florida does not recognize common law marriage, then I'm not sure that she would have spousal rights. And even if she were able to stay in the house, would she have the funds to do so?
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mstrbill, please review the info on this site to make sure your mom's LO has a reason why he is not getting Medicare. Maybe she is referring to Medicaid?

https://www.hhs.gov/answers/medicare-and-medicaid/who-is-elibible-for-medicare/index.html

Also, If I were in her shoes I would consult an elder law attorney so she can have solid info before meeting with his family and explaining future impact on her when he passes. She should also ask attorney what impact would be if they got married. It may be the easiest solution. My FIL created a trust fund for his biological kids after he married his second wife, who also had 3 child. Not sure about the legal/financial mechanics of it but it will keep things predictable and civil once wife #2 passes. People are nice until money becomes an issue, so don't make assumptions based on how the relationships are today. Blessings!

(from the above link:)
Who is eligible for Medicare?
Generally, Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities and people with End Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant). Medicare has two parts, Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. You can get Part A at age 65 without having to pay premiums if:
You are receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
You are eligible to receive Social Security or Railroad benefits but you have not yet filed for them.
You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.
To find out if you are eligible and your expected premium, go the Medicare.gov eligibility tool.
If you (or your spouse) did not pay Medicare taxes while you worked, and you are age 65 or older and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you may be able to buy Part A. If you are under age 65, you can get Part A without having to pay premiums if:
You have been entitled to Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months. (Note: If you have Lou Gehrig's disease, your Medicare benefits begin the first month you get disability benefits.)
You are a kidney dialysis or kidney transplant patient.
While most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A, everyone must pay for Part B if they want it. This monthly premium is deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check. If you do not get any of these payments, Medicare sends you a bill for your Part B premium every 3 months.
Prescription Drug Coverage
Since January 1, 2006, everyone with Medicare, regardless of income, health status, or prescription drug usage has had access to prescription drug coverage. For more information, you may wish to visit the Prescription Drug Coverage site.
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mstrbill Nov 22, 2019
Ty Geaton, he pays for private insurance he's offered through the teachers union retirement. The premium is over $1000 a month. I've asked Mom before about Medicare and she told me he isn't eligible because of the teacher contract? she does say he has good insurance. He doesn't get SS because of the teacher's retirement. I don't know what it is going to cover as far as rehab for him.

I agree about seeing an attorney, but my bet is if I tell Mom to do that she won't, she'll say what's the point. I don't think she has the law on her side in that state, I only hope the kids look after her somehow.
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She is going to have to prioritize according to her needs. Life usually isn’t simple. Difficult challenges in all of our lives.
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Your mother may be distraught with the health issue right now, but, I'd get her a consult with an attorney. She may be in a very precarious situation, once her partner dies. It seems very strange that he would not have made some financial provisions for her. Is he still competent to do so? That's tricky. I'd look for legal advice. Also, why wouldn't he have Medicare at age 75? Hmm....But, if they are not married, your mother may have no interest in his debts.

Maybe, they had a verbal agreement about things, although, if it's about the house, it would need to be in writing. An attorney might be able to determine what, if any remedies she might have to protect her financial interest.

Any chance his kids would see this from your mother's perspective?
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mstrbill Nov 22, 2019
thanks Sunnygirl, he was a teacher, their retirement and health insurance is different, my Mom said he doesn't have Medicare.
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Your concerns are valid, but I would think Mum is not able to consider them as she deals with the impending death of her long term partner.

It is unfortunate that he possibly did not provide for your mother in his Will.

Where will she live as it is his house? Is she on good terms with his kids? Will they give her time to find a new home? Can she get on the wait lists for low income housing now?
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mstrbill Nov 22, 2019
If she has to, she'll come live with me, but she may want to stay in his house if he was placed in long term care so she can visit him. She is on good terms with his kids, but your guess is as good as mine what they'll decide to do.
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