It's never easy to lose a spouse, but it can be especially difficult when you're left with the task of managing your finances on your own. If you find yourself in this situation, it's important to take a step back and reassess your financial future. With careful planning and the support of loved ones, you can make sure that your finances are in order and that you're prepared for whatever comes next.
After the death of a spouse, it is necessary to take a close look at your finances and make any needed changes. This may include updating your bill payments, transferring accounts, examining your budget, and reassessing your assets.
While we generally recommend that clients avoid making major financial decisions in the early days of grief, there are some things that can't wait, especially for newly single parents.
Some of these "must-dos" may even help you feel like you are regaining some control as you begin the next phases of life. Here are some tips to help.
Changes to be made with bills:
- Update your contact information with utility companies, banks, and other service providers.
- Make sure that all bills are being paid on time.
Changes to be made with accounts:
- Transfer any joint accounts into your name only.
- Close any accounts that you no longer need or want.
- Update your contact information with all your financial institutions.
Changes to be made with assets:
- Reassess your insurance needs and make sure that you have adequate coverage.
- Review your investment portfolio with your financial advisor to ensure you’re properly diversified and allocated.
- Create or update your will and estate plan.
Life insurance policies owned by you and your spouse or provided by an employer are typically a crucial source of needed funds in the early days and weeks following the death of a spouse. This can be a helpful financial resource if you are struggling to make ends meet or need a cushion of time to get organized.
Consider whether you need to change your budget in light of your new circumstances. If you were previously relying on your spouse's income, you may need to make some adjustments or look to other sources of income. It may also be necessary to make some changes to your long-term financial goals.
If you are widowed with unmarried children up to age 19, you may be able to receive social security benefits for your children. This can be a helpful financial resource If you are finding it difficult to live on your income alone. Providing documentation of your child's age and relationship to you will be necessary in order to qualify for these benefits.
If your spouse worked for an employer who offered a pension or other retirement plan, you may be eligible to receive survivor benefits from that plan. You will need to contact them to receive any benefits you may be entitled to. In certain circumstances, you may want to consider creating accounts or even trusts for your children's education or future funding.
It's also important to review your own insurance coverage. Make sure that you have enough life insurance to cover any outstanding debts and future costs, such as your child's education. You should also consider updating your will and beneficiary designations.
Making these changes can be difficult, and if you're feeling overwhelmed by your financial situation, it's okay to seek professional help. At Triada Advisors, we can assist you in making the necessary changes to ensure that you're on solid footing financially. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions.