It doesn’t matter which spouse dies, for the purposes of benefits, because at the first death, the survivor benefit becomes the higher retirement benefit of the two spouses, he explained. Ultimately, the biggest challenge to assessing life expectancy, Moisand said, is the obvious unknown factor, and it can only be estimated based on tables and other factors.
There are also twists and turns regarding survivor benefits that advisors should know, Moisand said, explaining that clients don’t have to be currently married to someone in order to gain Social Security dollars.
If a client gets married after age 60 they can still receive survivor benefits on an ex-spouse who they were married to for over ten years. “You’re not stuck with the new guy,” he quipped.
FILE & SUSPEND
Another popular tactic, the file-and-suspend strategy, allows for the client to file for benefits but suspend them, which results in delayed retirement credits while still allowing their spouse to begin claiming spousal benefits.
"If you file and suspend at your full retirement age any time before age 70, when the suspension is lifted you can say I want to go retro," Moisand said.
All On Wall Street articles are archived after 7 days. REGISTER NOW for unlimited access to all recently archived articles, as well as thousands of searchable stories. Registered Members also gain access to exclusive industry white paper downloads, web seminars, blog discussions, the iPad App, CE Exams, and conference discounts. Qualified members may also choose to receive our free monthly magazine and any of our daily or weekly e-newsletters covering the latest breaking news, opinions from industry leaders, developing trends and growth strategies.