7 Things A Woman Should Do After The Loss Of A Spouse
By Frederick J. Dawson, ChFC, CLU
The loss of a spouse can be a devastating, life-changing event. Sadly, for many women, becoming a widow is a first step toward economic hardship. That’s why it’s critical for you to organize your finances after your spouse’s death and to take ongoing steps to secure your financial future and that of your family.
Locate important documents and financial records.
These include your spouse’s will and other estate planning documents (e.g., trust), insurance policies, bank and brokerage statements, stock and bond certificates, deeds, social security number, birth and marriage certificates, and certified copies of the death certificate.
Set up a communications tracking and filing system.
Set up a system to record incoming and outgoing calls and mail. For phone calls, keep a notebook handy where you can write down the caller’s name, date, and subject of the call. For mail, keep track of what you receive and whether a response is required by a certain date. Finally, create a filing system for important documents and correspondence with separate folders for different topics.
Seek professional advice to settle the estate and file tax returns. Get expert help from an attorney, accountant, and/or financial and tax professional. An attorney can tell you what procedures to follow. A tax professional can help you file certain federal and state tax returns that may be due. A financial professional can help you by conducting a comprehensive review of your financial situation and identifying any retirement and survivor’s benefits that may be available to you.
Apply for benefits.
You’ll need to contact several institutions for information on how you can file for benefits, namely life insurance company, Social Security Administration and your spouse’s employers. If your husband was a federal, state or local employee or
in the military, you may be eligible for government-sponsored
Update account names.
You may need to contact financial institutions to change account names and/or update contact information.
Evaluate short-term expenses. You may have immediate expenses to take care of, such as funeral costs or outstanding debts your husband may have incurred. You can use credit cards for certain expenses or you can try to negotiate with creditors to allow you to postpone payment for 30 days or more, if necessary. Make sure you have one or more credit cards in your name, and when you can, order a free copy of your credit report and review it for accuracy.
Avoid hasty decisions.
Go at your own pace, not someone else’s. For example, don’t commit to move from your current home until you can make a decision based on reason instead of emotion. Don’t spend money impulsively. Don’t cave in to pressure to sell or give away your spouse’s possessions. Find out where you stand financially before you make any large purchases, sell property, or loan money to others.
Some Content Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2013.
Fred Dawson, ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant), CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) has over 30 years of comprehensive wealth management experience. He is Executive Vice President of Bassett, Dawson & Foy, Inc. and a founding principal partner of the firm. Successful women are prominent among Fred’s diverse domestic and international client base of professionals, retirees, professional musicians and business owners. In 2008 Fred was cited by Delaware Today Magazine as one of Delaware’s Top Financial Advisors. Criteria are not necessarily based on client satisfaction or advisor performance. Fred received a State of Delaware Senate Tribute in 1999 for his “long and distinguished record of service to his community, his country, his state and his region.”
- Bassett, Dawson & Foy, Inc. is an Independent Registered Investment Advisory Firm with the State of DE.
- Securities Offered Through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC
- Any opinions are those of Fred Dawson and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.
Fred is frequently sought after as a public speaker on financial matters. If your group or organization would like to hear Fred speak merely contact his office at 302-999-9330.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary, no obligation initial consultation contact Fred’s office at 302-999-9330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frederick J. Dawson, ChFC, CLU
Wealth Manager, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.
Executive Vice President, Bassett, Dawson & Foy, Inc.
Bassett, Dawson & Foy, Inc.
E.A. Delle Donne Corporate Center
1011 Centre Road, Suite 110
Wilmington, DE 19805