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What are some benefits of getting married?

There are a few things you already know about marriage. If you get married, you might be able to share the same last name, you'll avoid paying child support for a child you and your wife or husband had when you weren't married, and you gain some tax benefits, too. There are some other benefits to marriage you may not have considered, though, that your attorney can walk you through.

For instance, if you're married and a spouse passes away, then the spouse's IRA can be roll over to the other spouse's IRA, boosting that person's potential retirement income. If you aren't married, then you will have to start taking the distributions right away, which may not be to your benefit in the long term. On the topic of an IRA, you can also contribute to a spouse's IRA if you are married.

What happens if a spouse passes away? More than you might have thought.

If your spouse dies and has a pension, then you can receive a survivor's benefit from that plan. You can also receive Social Security benefits; you'll receive up to 50 percent of the other spouse's benefit amount, which can make a difference if you're already living on a lower income. This can't happen if you're only living as domestic partners.

You also save on health insurance if you're married, whereas you can't if you're in an unmarried relationship. This is a major benefit if you're self-employed, because you don't have access to health insurance through your own employer. If you're married, your spouse's health insurance should cover you as well; this is something your legal team can advise you on.

Source: Forbes, "11 Things You Never Thought Of When You Decided Not To Get Married," Kate Ashford, accessed Aug. 04, 2016

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