Helping Your Loved One Handle Finances After Losing Their Spouse

Unfortunately, life doesn’t stop after losing a spouse. There are certain financial decisions your loved one will need to make immediately after their spouse passes away, while other decisions will allow them more time to process their grief. Nonetheless, these decisions can be overwhelming, especially in the face of grief. Florida Estate Sales & Auction Co. has shared some practical tips for helping your loved one navigate the road ahead:

Consider Professionals to Hire
As your loved one battles a myriad of emotions, it will help them to have trustworthy professionals in their corner. Help them find legal and financial professionals to guide them through the decisions and actions ahead. Besides a trusted friend or family member (that’s you), your loved one will need a financial advisor, estate attorney, and CPA.

If your loved one owns a business and is ready to retire, help them arrange a professional business valuation to gain an objective perspective before selling the company. A complete valuation will factor in all business assets, such as inventory, real estate property, and others.

If your loved one needs to sell valuable items as they move to the next chapter in their life, look to the professionals at Florida Estate Sales & Auction Co. We specialize in estate sales, consignments, and auctions and can help your loved one offload the belongings they no longer want or need while earning extra cash in the process.

Collect the Necessary Documents
Your loved one will need to gather many important documents after their spouse passes away. Start with the death certificate, which will legally establish the fact of death and authorize the family to gain access to insurance proceeds, property inheritance, and other benefits.

You will need to obtain at least 10 copies of the death certificate, which you can usually order through the funeral home or your state’s Department of Vital Statistics. Here are some other documents to gather:

• Birth certificate
• Marriage certificate
• Will
• Life insurance policies
• Health insurance policy
• Tax returns
• Loan documents
• Social Security statements

Notify Any Concerned Parties
Your loved one may need to notify several parties of their spouse’s death. Contact their employer to inquire about final paycheck distribution and other assets or benefits they may be entitled to.

Also, contact all agencies distributing benefits to the deceased spouse, such as Veterans Affairs, Medicare, and Social Security. If these agencies are not notified and payment continues, your loved one will be responsible for repaying any benefits they received following their spouse’s death.

Transfer Assets
Another essential step your loved one will need to take is to update or transfer assets to their name. For instance, if they are the beneficiary of their spouse’s tax-advantaged retirement accounts, you’ll need to notify the accounts’ custodians of how to distribute the assets.

You also need to contact any life insurance carriers to ensure your loved one receives their benefits. And if your loved one holds any bank or brokerage accounts jointly with their spouse, they will need to update the title of the assets to their name.

Tackle Debts and Make a Plan
Finally, help your loved one settle any debts accrued throughout the marriage. This means closing any credit card accounts held exclusively by the deceased spouse and removing that spouse’s name from jointly held cards. Any debts owed by the spouse should be dealt with through the estate or in compliance with state laws. Make sure your loved one continues to pay the mortgage, utility bills, and other recurring debts.

Furthermore, help your loved one draw up a financial plan for the future. Working with a CPA, financial advisor, and estate attorney is the surest way to create a plan that helps them thrive in their golden years.

Your loved one will be dealing with enough as they navigate the emotions of losing their spouse. But they will also need to make many financial and legal decisions in the days ahead. Consider the information and advice above to carry some of the burdens for your loved one. And remember to work with trustworthy professionals along the way.

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