Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult, and in the midst of that grief, it can be hard to know what financial steps to take. For those who have recently lost a spouse, here are five financial steps that ought to be taken as soon as possible.
1. Review Your Will:
The first step is to review your will and ensure that it is up-to-date. If you’re unsure of what your will says or if you don’t have a will, then it’s important to consult an attorney who specializes in estate planning so that you can make sure your wishes are legally documented and followed.
2. Check Bank Accounts & Credit Cards:
Make sure all bank accounts and credit cards are up-to-date and in order. Make sure you have all the necessary information for each account or card, such as account numbers and PINs, so that you can access them when needed. You may need to close some accounts and transfer funds from others so this step is important for ensuring your finances are properly managed going forward.
3. Collect Life Insurance Benefits:
If your spouse had life insurance coverage, make sure you contact the insurance company right away so they can begin processing any claims due to the passing of your spouse. This can provide much needed financial relief during this time of grief and uncertainty.
4. Contact Social Security Administration:
If your spouse was receiving Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately after their passing to determine what benefits may still be available for surviving spouses or children under 18 years old who were receiving benefits on their deceased parent’s record prior to their death. It’s important that you file for these benefits as soon as possible since there may be a time limit on when they must be claimed in order for them to be received by the surviving family members.
5. Review Financial Documents & Assets:
Lastly, review all other financial documents and assets owned by both spouses. It’s important to look at accounts that might be owned jointly, such as investments, mortgages, and other debts owed, as well as accounts owned individually, such as retirement accounts. This is so you understand exactly what needs to be done with each one going forward in order to assist with managing them appropriately without any complications or delay.
Anyone who has recently lost a spouse should take these five steps right away in order to ensure their finances remain organized and secure during this difficult time. Taking each step one at a time will help manage this process more effectively while also providing peace of mind knowing everything is taken care of properly.