5 Financial Planning Steps You Need to Take After Losing Your Spouse/Partner
There is little as world-shaking as losing your spouse or partner. So, give yourself time and space to grieve and heal. But also take time for financial planning, which can help you begin to feel confident again about your life and your future.
Here’s our best advice after helping many people through this challenging life experience:
First, Do Nothing
You’re probably still in shock. We recommend that you commit to not making any big decisions in the first year after your partner’s death. That way, you can give yourself time to adjust before you do anything that can’t be undone. That goes for both personal choices, like whether to relocate and financial ones, such as selling property or making significant changes to your investments.
Learn to Say No
You may experience an outpouring of suggestions from family, friends or, sadly, opportunistic people with something to sell. Learn to say “no thank you.” It is critical that you keep your money safe and avoid any big financial moves, even if the advice is well-intentioned. You’ll be in better shape to consider any relevant ideas in the following year when you can make a more informed decision.
As you can see, it’s initially essential to avoid action. So what should you be doing?
During this time of confusion, your first goal should be to get clarity. Especially if your spouse handled the finances, this might take some effort.
It starts with identifying all of your spouse’s assets so you know where you stand financially. Also, you want to find any other liabilities or debts, so you can also take those into account.
It can be challenging to go through drawers, filing cabinets, and emails looking for financial information. Still, it’s vital to ensure you’re not missing anything. The good news is that many companies will be informed of your spouse’s passing automatically from the Social Security Administration. Still, it’s wise to do your own research in case accounts have an old address or are otherwise not easy to identify.
Consider Financial Help
Thinking about your financial future after your spouse dies can be unnerving. Maybe there’s less anxiety if you were in charge of the money. But you might feel a bit rusty if you’re one of the scores of people who let their spouse handle it all.
That’s normal, and for most everyone, getting some professional assistance can help you prevent mistakes you may regret later. If you’re unsure where to start, consider seeking help from a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional (CFP®). These individuals have completed extensive training and are required to keep their knowledge up to date. Always make sure any financial planner or financial advisor you choose acts as a fiduciary. That means they are responsible for putting your interests before theirs.
Initially, you may be updating (or starting) a financial plan. This should help you determine your budget going forward. Knowing how much you can spend each month can help you feel more financially secure. A financial planner can also help with updating your will, adjusting your insurance coverage, and creating a complete retirement plan for the future.
Whether you do this on your own or get assistance, this financial planning can be empowering. Many people find it helps them heal and start to feel optimistic about the future again.
Get Help in the Probate Process
The probate process can be confusing. We recommend working with an attorney and CPA to help navigate the various filings that will be required. Although you might be fine filling out forms and contacting companies on your own, it’s good to at least have an attorney walk you through the process, so you don’t miss any steps.
If you are working with a financial advisor, they can also be a good source of help in this process.
Millions of people lose their spouses every year, so know you are not alone in this experience. By following these financial planning steps, you can take control of your finances and protect your future, laying the groundwork for the next phase of your life.
Questions and Consultations
If you have questions or if you’d like to schedule an appointment to discuss your finances, contact us today.
Want more information? Sign up to receive our monthly e-newsletter here.
Partnership Wealth Management is a comprehensive financial services company. We are committed to providing our clients with financial planning and wealth management services to help them make the most of their investments. At Partnership Wealth Management we have a long history of working with the LGBT community. Among our many services, we offer financial planning for gay couples and lesbian couples as well as estate planning for gay couples and lesbian couples. Financial planning is an important part of preparing for the future, contact us today to get started: www.partnershipwm.com. We always try and provide the best information – We are not responsible for information on third-party sites. Thanks for reading!