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Subject:  Re: How much is enough? Date:  1/6/2011  12:13 PM
Author:  ziggy29 Number:  68096 of 103331

>> Plan for what happens when one partner dies. At least his/her social security will disappear (in your case about 30% less per year) <<

There's a triple whammy when this happens. I do my mom's taxes since my dad died in 2005, and here's what happened to her financial situation:

1) She lost her SS benefit (she assumed my dad's benefit as the larger of the two, but lost her own to the tune of about $10K per year);

2) She had to start filing single in 2006, which doubled her income tax liability compared to MFJ in 2005 (on less income);

3) The change in filing status (despite lower total income) moved her from the 15% to the 25% bracket AND made 85% of her SS taxable instead of 50%.

Needless to say, Uncle Sam has a rather odd way to say "sorry for your loss" to the widowed. It's not just the loss of SS benefits -- it's also the likelihood that your taxes will increase sharply because of the change in filing status.

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