Losing a spouse is one of the most difficult experiences in life. After you have addressed the immediate concerns of a funeral and burial, the next steps are often the toughest. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few important things to do after the death of a spouse.
Gather Legal Documents
Information gathering is key to understanding your spouse’s legal and financial matters. Look through all files and group documents into categories such as:
- Bank Accounts/Investments
- Miscellaneous Assets
Be sure to check both physical files and those on his/her computer, as electronic statements are common these days. Information may also be available through your spouse’s employer.
Manage Life Insurance Proceeds Wisely
If you receive money from a life insurance policy, how you manage and spend those funds will dramatically impact your life. From tax liabilities to paying off debts and investing, you have many options to consider. Read What to Do With Life Insurance Proceeds After a Spouse Dies for additional details.
Consult with a Financial Advisor
Whether you received an influx of cash from a life insurance policy or are facing the normal challenges of balancing cash flow and savings, it can be helpful to consult with a financial advisor. Unlike common perception, their services are for more than the wealthy. A well established plan can help you manage day-to-day obligations while also saving and investing for the future.
Update Your Estate Plan
Updating your estate plan is one of the most important things to do after the death of a spouse. First and foremost, you may need to alter beneficiaries. Additionally, your assets and debts may have changed as well, requiring a different approach to minimizing taxes, etc. Your attorney can evaluate your current circumstances and ensure that your estate plan continues to accomplish your intended goals. If you do not have an estate plan, then it’s more critical than ever to create one!
Other Things to Do After the Death of a Spouse
Other things to do after the death of a spouse will depend on your specific circumstances. Is there a family business to plan for? Do you have real estate assets to manage or transfer? Are there digital assets or other complex matters to tend to? Estate settlement and next steps are truly unique for every person. Contact the legal team at Simmons & Schiavo for assistance with estate settlement, review, and planning in Massachusetts.