The First Actions When Widowed

After recently losing a spouse, you will find yourself having to make important and immediate financial arrangements while still coping with your loss. First, you will need to collect legal and financial paperwork required to file for various benefits and to finalize the estate. Once you have the necessary documents, the checklist below can help you take the next steps.

First action items:

  • Request 10-15 certified copies of the death certificate either from the funeral home or the County Clerk’s office. The death certificate is often required by financial institutions to proceed with making decisions on your spouse’s behalf.
  • Call your spouse’s employer and speak with the HR department to let them know the news and collect necessary paperwork to receive money due for accrued vacation and/or sick time. If you were covered by your spouse’s employer-sponsored medical insurance, inquire about continuing the coverage if necessary.
  • Contact your life insurance provider, if you and your spouse have one, in order to begin collecting funds. It may take several weeks to receive the funds so begin this process early.
  • Meet with an attorney to discuss your spouse’s will, or if one did not exist, you will want to learn about the probate process. Also, inquire if your spouse’s estate will cover any existing debt in their name.
  • Reach out to your financial institutions and change all accounts to your name.
  • Put all bills in your name. . If your spouse had bills paid automatically you will want to pay them manually until you get bank accounts updated. It may be helpful to develop a bill checklist and use it for the next few months to ensure all bills are paid on time. Also, you may have an option to delay payments due to recent circumstances.
  • Connect with a financial advisor advisor to review investment accounts and begin assigning assets to beneficiaries as well as other financial planning needs.

We are here to help navigate the complex financial matters that lie ahead of you during this difficult time. For guidance or assistance, please contact one of our Investment Representatives at your convenience.

This information is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal, tax, or other professional advice. For specific professional assistance, the services of an appropriate professional should be sought.

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