presented by: Vision Financial Group, www.vision-financialgroup.com
Losing a spouse is a stressful transition. And the added pressure of having to settle the estate and organize finances can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make dealing with these matters less difficult.
Notify others. When your spouse dies, your first step should be to contact anyone who is close to you and your spouse, and anyone who may help you with funeral preparations. Next, contact your attorney and other financial professionals as well as life insurance companies, government agencies, and your spouse’s employer for information on how you can file for benefits.
Get advice. Getting expert advice is essential. An attorney can help you go over your spouse’s will and start estate settlement procedures. Your funeral director can also be an excellent source of information and may help you obtain copies of the death certificate and applications for Social Security and veteran benefits. Your life insurance agent can assist you with the claims process. You may also wish to consult with a financial professional, accountant, or tax advisor.
Locate important documents and financial records. Before you can begin to settle your spouse’s estate or apply for insurance proceeds or government benefits, you’ll need to locate important documents and financial records (e.g., birth certificates, marriage certificates, life insurance policies). You may need to obtain certified copies of certain documents. For example, you’ll need a certified copy of your spouse’s death certificate to apply for life insurance proceeds. And to apply for Social Security benefits, you’ll need to provide birth, marriage, and death certificates.
Set up a filing system. If you’ve ever felt frustrated because you couldn’t find an important document, you already know the importance of setting up a filing system. Start by reviewing all important documents and organizing them by topic area. Next, set up a file for each topic area. For example, you may want to set up separate files for estate records, insurance, government benefits, tax information, and so on. Finally, be sure to store your files in a safe but readily accessible place. Also, if you don’t already have one, make a list of the names and phone numbers of organizations and people you might need to contact, and post it near your phone.
Evaluate short-term income and expenses. When your spouse dies, you may have some immediate expenses to take care of, such as funeral costs and any outstanding debts that your spouse may have incurred (e.g., credit cards, car loan.
Avoid hasty decisions.
- Don’t think about moving from your current home until you can decide based on reason rather than emotion.
- Don’t spend money impulsively. When you’re grieving, you may be especially vulnerable to pressure from salespeople.
- Don’t cave in to pressure to sell or give away your spouse’s possessions. Wait until you can make clear-headed decisions.
- Don’t give or loan money to others without reviewing your finances first.
Vision Financial Group, Inc.
4505 Pine Tree Circle, Birmingham, 35243
Investment Advisor representative of Investment Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor and a division of ProEquities, Inc. Securities offered through ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Broker-Dealer, Member FINRA & SIPC. Vision Financial Group, Inc. is independent of ProEquities, Inc. Please be advised that Hal Holland holds the Series 7, 63, and 65 securities licenses and is licensed in AL, TN, TX, VA, SC, NC, FL, MS, GA, MN. Copyright 2006-2019 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.