Almost 75 percent of all widows fire their financial adviser immediately upon the death of their spouse because there is no relationship of trust. In over 45 years of meeting with client, I have often seen the wife resist talking about death and will sometimes have an excuse about missing the meeting when we are going to be discussing estate settlement. She will say something like, “My husband will take care of all this.” Or, “Bill will catch me up to date later.” This is a serious mistake.
When a spouse passes away, financial issues must be addressed or the costs of not doing so can destroy the widow’s future. If you are a woman who has relied a little too much on your husband to take care of the finances, now is the time to get comfortable with estate planning and settlement and especially with how your finances are going to be play out after your spouse’s death.
Here are some of the issues widows and widowers must deal with after death:
- Titling of property.
- The need for at least 12 death certificates (many people order just one but find they must submit an original in order to claim Social Security benefits, or life insurance proceeds, and so forth. If you do not get an appropriate amount at death and have to reorder, it can take months before additional ones are issued. Meanwhile, you can’t file insurance claims or get Social Security income.
- The need for a joint banking account. So, for example, if a refund check in the name of her spouse arrives from a magazine subscription six months later, she can deposit it. Perhaps a refund check is sent in the name of her deceased husband from an over payment on an insurance contract, or a business debt is paid. There are many examples of why a joint banking account is needed.
All of these things and many more are reasons why having a good relationship with a qualified financial adviser can help you when your spouse dies. Using the old “trial-and-error” technique on 50 financial issues upon the death of your spouse is a horrible experience. Find a good adviser you trust, then review ALL financial issues annually. Planning ahead will help you find peace at a time of grieving.
For more information about financial coaching and how it can help you even more than just a good financial adviser, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.