Losing a spouse or partner is a stressful event. Yet, during this time, you must complete a variety of tasks and make important financial decisions. You may need to make final arrangements, notify various businesses and government agencies, settle your spouse’s estate, and provide for your own financial security. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make dealing with these matters less difficult.
Notify others and get advice
Dealing with both the death of your spouse and money matters at the same time can be overwhelming, especially if the death was unexpected. But there are resources available to help. First, call on close family members, friends, and clergy–you’ll need their emotional support. Notify your employer and your spouse’s employer. Then contact the professionals who will help you cope with the paperwork and financial matters. These may include your funeral director, attorney, insurance professional, financial advisor, and accountant. Keep their phone numbers handy.
Get organized and keep your finances current
You will need a number of documents to finalize your spouse’s financial affairs. First, obtain certified copies of the death certificate. Your family doctor or the medical examiner should provide you with the death certificate within 24 hours of the death. The funeral home should complete the form and file it with the state. Get several certified copies (photocopies may not be accepted). Then, gather any estate planning documents, such as a will and trusts, and other relevant documents, such as deeds and titles. Also locate any marriage certificate, birth or adoption certificates of children, and military discharge papers, which you may need to apply for benefits. If you don’t know where these documents are, they may be found in a safe-deposit box, or your attorney may have copies. You may want to set up folders so you can keep track of everything. And, although it may be difficult under the circumstances, pay your bills and keep your finances current, especially mortgage and insurance payments.
Settle your spouse’s estate
Settling your spouse’s estate is the duty of the executor, who is named in the will. Spouses generally name each other as executor of the other’s estate. If this is so, your attorney can help you to wind up your spouse’s financial affairs. If that is not the case, contact the executor and assist him or her when you can.
Koele Godfrey Investment Group, Carey Koele and Jack Godfrey.
616-931-1223, Toll Free 866-512-7164. We are located at 123 E Main Ave, Zeeland. Visit our Website at www.KoeleGodfrey.com for more information.