Women’s Series: Death of a Spouse
Nearly 700,000 women lose their husbands every year and will live for an average of 14 years beyond their husband’s death. I did a newsletter a few months ago titled Longevity and talked about why women live longer and talked about the things to do now so that if you are left behind you are equipped to manage your own affairs. But, what are important steps to take once your spouse does pass?
Something we have been doing for years is providing our clients with a Financial Organizer three-ring binder. The Financial Organizer is a reference guide to your financial life and it’s meant to be interactive in your everyday life. It is meant for you to put copies of your financial statements, insurance policy information, tax information, estate planning documents and other important documents for your family. This organizer can also be your guide to your finances when your husband passes. This may not be an organizer you review daily, but it will definitely keep you on track when settling an estate and having access to all of your important information as long as you keep it up to date.
Having all of your estate planning documents up to date and reviewed periodically is important as well. Once your spouse passes it’s important to reevaluate all of your estate planning documents and beneficiary designations. Sometimes estate planning documents and trust documents have already addressed how the estate should be handled once one spouse passes, but there may be other items to review.
Something that I have noticed is when a husband passes and the couple is already living and acclimated in a retirement-type community the transition for the wife can be slightly easier. The wife usually has close-by friends that can be there for her in this difficult time and the wife may already have a routine which involves activities in the community. Making the move prior to losing your spouse may be beneficial to you.
I am repeating myself when I say this based on my past newsletter on longevity, but getting involved in your finances early is really important. The less transition you have to do at a difficult time in your life the easier it will be. Going to meetings with your accountant, with your attorney, your insurance agent and your financial advisor is imperative to making sure you are in the know of your finances.
Our next Women’s Newsletter will be about: What to do when you get a new job
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Any opinions are those of Christina Jones and not necessarily those of Raymond James.