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Helping Your Surviving Spouse

Robert Weide, CPA

October 30, 2018

Losing a spouse often brings on a flood of emotions that can make tasks like managing financial obligations seem almost impossible. Here are some steps may help ease that burden:

  • Gather all important documents in a central place. A large accordion folder can help you to stay organized.
  • Make a list of professional contacts.  Be sure to include the phone numbers and addresses of financial advisors, attorneys, and accountants.
  • Make a list of all investments. Include the account number and beneficiary for each investment.
  • Make a list of usernames and passwords. You will want to have access to all online accounts and to the computer most often used.
  • Have wills and trusts available. Update these documents every few years.
  • Set up advance directives. These include health care powers of attorney and living wills.
  • Discuss funeral plans. Doing so can save thousands of dollars by letting the surviving spouse know that they have options other than choosing the most expensive funeral arrangements.
  • Learn how bills are paid so that the surviving spouse does not miss payments or overdraw an account.
  • Check your credit cards.  Confirm whether your name is on each credit card; you may not be able to use that particular card or you may not have to pay the debt.

By taking these steps, you will help your surviving spouse deal with the challenging times ahead and make the upcoming financial steps easier to understand and follow.

   

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