Becoming a widow is painful, devastating and stressful. In addition to the emotional sorrow that comes with the loss of a loved one, you now have to face financial and legal decisions on your own.
Taking care of your financial affairs is an important priority as a widow. Here are just some of the things you will need to do during this difficult time:
- As soon as it is practical, make an appointment with your attorney, financial advisor and accountant.
- Gather all important documents such as death certificate, birth and marriage certificates, powers of attorney, insurance policies, will, employee benefits, social security, veteran’s benefits, etc.
- Notify your banking institution(s) of your spouse’s death. Contact insurance companies to change beneficiaries if necessary, financial advisor to change joint investments, health insurance companies, auto insurance company to adjust policies, credit card companies to transfer cards to your name or to cancel, motor vehicle department to change title of the vehicle, etc.
- Request a social security benefit if you are eligible.
- Prepare an estimate of all of your expenses including any children’s education expenses and financial liabilities.
- Designate a new Health Care Power of Attorney for yourself.
- Update your will.
- Before you invest any life insurance money you receive, make sure you have a financial advisor that you trust and who will take the time to explain the pros and cons of your investments to help you towards long term financial security.
- Establish a support network with people you have confidence in and can help you during this critical point in your life. They can be professionals, a family member or a trustworthy friend.
While most people are honest and trustworthy, there are scam artists out there that will try to take advantage of a grieving widow. Never give your personal or financial information to anyone that you did not contact first.
Answers from AZ