First Steps After the Death of a Spouse



The death of a loved one is a difficult time. You may not know who to turn to regarding financial matters. This step-by-step plan can help you get organized:

  • First, you’ll want to request a least 10 death certificates from the funeral home. That way, the document will be handy when you request services such as transfers from joint accounts to a single name.
  • Update important information, such as joint bank, mutual fund and brokerage accounts to make sure your name is included. Also check ownership on real estate and car information.
  • If your spouse was collecting Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security office to report the death and update your status as a widow or widower. Get more information from the Social Security’s website.
  • Notify your spouse’s former and current employers. If you get back in touch with every employer your spouse has had you may discover a pension or annuity benefit is owed to you.
  • Once you have attended to these tasks, you can work with your financial advisor to decide the best way to handle your spouse’s death benefits. For example, a systematic savings and investment plan may be a good choice. Remember that systematic investing does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss.
  • A financial advisor may also help you decide if your expenses are too much for you to handle on your own, and if a change such as acquiring a roommate or moving to a smaller home may be beneficial.

If you do not have a financial advisor, we can show you the steps to find one now. Be aware that financial advisors typically charge a fee for their services

WEBC 10.16.06/06  11.30.06

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