Losing someone you love is a very difficult thing to go through. The emotional aspect of the loss is tremendous. However, the financial impact is one that should be considered as well. Losing a spouse may mean an unexpected transition from living on two incomes to one. Because of this, it can be a substantial financial blow. Use these tips to help you navigate your financial life after losing a loved one. A financial professional can help you by conducting a comprehensive review of your financial situation and identifying any retirement and survivor benefits that may be available to you.
Tip #1: Seek Help & Work With a Financial Planner
If you aren't already working with a trusted financial professional, now's the time. Give us a call or set up a meeting today so that we can help you understand all of your options and help you navigate the next steps after losing a loved one. We will work with you through all the important decisions that could impact your financial well-being for decades to come. At a time when you feel lost and unsure, your advisor can provide steady guidance and a listening ear, and most importantly objective advice.
Tip #2: Review Financial Accounts
Get an understanding of what your finances look like. That includes retirement and brokerage accounts, your home’s value, your mortgage, and any other loans you may have. If you have outstanding credit card balances check with your credit card company. Many companies offer programs like payment deferments or a reduction in interest after a loss of the cardholder.
It's likely your spouse had a retirement account, whether it was a 401(k) through their employer, an IRA, or other savings or investment accounts. Check with their employer, bank, and financial advisor to get a better sense of what accounts they may have had. As the spouse, it's likely you were named beneficiary of these accounts, which will grant you access to their contents. How you handle the savings account as a beneficiary will depend on the account type. You may be able to become the account owner and continue contributing to the account. In other cases, you may choose to roll the distributions into a new account. You'll want to work with your financial advisor to determine how retirement accounts should be handled.
Tip #3: Arrange Necessities
You probably know whether your loved one created a will or not, but you'll want to be sure you have access to the most up-to-date version. If you don't know, contact the lawyer that they may have used.
Obtain multiple copies of the certified death certificate. Some companies will not accept a photocopy. This is common with insurance policies and annuity contracts, for example.
It is common today to have a huge amount of passwords, from banks to mobile devices to streaming services. Find the individual’s passwords and consolidate them in one place. This will help eliminate frustration and make it easier to stop or make changes to services.
Tip #4: Contact Life Insurance Providers
There are two possible places to look for a life insurance policy. They may have had life insurance through their employer, or they may have had it from the open market. Life insurance benefits are not automatic, you will need to contact any life insurance companies that your spouse had a policy with and provide them with a death certificate. This should be one of the first things you do. Ask your insurance agent or financial advisor to help you in filing a claim (if you don't have an agent, contact the company directly). Most claims take only a few days to a week to process. From there, these companies can help you through the process of receiving the death benefit.
Contact your spouse's most recent and past employers to find out if you are eligible for any company benefits. If your spouse was a federal, state, or local employee or in the military, you may be eligible for government-sponsored survivor's benefits.
This is a very tough situation for anyone to deal with, but having the right people on your side can help. If you are going through this situation please reach out and give us a call or make an appointment.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.