Your Financial Strategy After the Loss of a Spouse

Losing a spouse is an emotional experience and, whether you like it or not, this major life change is a financial matter too. Big decisions need to be made right after the loss when your heart is broken, and big decisions need to be made later when your mind is clearer but still not complete. Rely on a financial professional to guide you at every point of your financial strategy to help ease the confusion and frustration of being forced to make financial choices through your grief.

Financial Strategy to Change Immediately

Chances are, your spouse was named beneficiary, executor, and other significant titles on your estate documents. Their death leaves a space in your documentation. Review names, titles, and legal designations to make sure your affairs are in a new order and your preferred person is ready to manage your estate.

  • Review your will: Talk to your financial advisor about the distribution of your assets, your executor, guardians for minor children, and other fiduciaries.
  • Check your living trust: Check that the specific assets that fund your living trust are as you want them to be and which heirs they will pass to outside of probate.
  • Secure Social Security benefits: The Social Security Administration must be notified of a spouse’s death so you can receive your deceased spouse’s retirement benefits or, if you have young children, so they receive benefits until the age of 18.
  • Understand workplace benefits: Life insurance, health insurance, 401(k) plans and the like may change if benefits were in the deceased spouse’s name, or you may hold the plans and need to change beneficiary names.
  • Adjust joint assets: Any shared property – primary residence, vehicles, other real estate – will need to be retitled into your name alone.

Support for Fast Financial Changes

A death certificate, of which you will need multiple copies, is the most efficient method to remove a spouse from bank accounts, joint investments, and other assets. This certificate also allows for the disbursement of life insurance policies and other benefits.

In many circumstances, funeral directors aid in dealing with some of the most immediate legal paperwork and documentation, saving you from pressing demands. Their duties include obtaining the death certificate and handling insurance claims or veterans’ benefits as they relate to the funeral.

Update Your Legacy and Financial Strategy

The longer you can wait to make financial choices after the death of a spouse the better. You need time to clear your mind and think about how you want your financial life to change now that you are on your own. It’s still essential to reduce your risk as you age and approach or work through retirement. You may find that your choices for investment management and philanthropy or charitable giving have shifted with the loss of your spouse, and your financial preferences where future generations are concerned has also changed.

Speak with an experienced financial advisor at Hollander Lone Maxbauer in Southfield, MI, to review your financial documents and the choices you and your spouse once made together. You are in a new phase of life, and it’s natural to alter choices of the past. Schedule a consultation. For financial planning and investment advice.