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Death of a Spouse

July 7, 2016

Spouses die. In some respect it could be you or your spouse, so failure to prepare can be self-defeating.

Preparation is a way that creates security for the spouses, removes some doubt about what will be faced and how to deal with it, eliminates some very time consuming obstacles, and provides a method of liquidity for the survivor. Here are some things that can be considered.

  • Fill out the checklists that can be downloaded by clicking at end of this article
  • List all accounts and location and advisor’s name and contact information
  • Discuss total assets and cash flow from all accounts
  • Discuss debt and how to pay it off
  • Determine spending needs and if there is adequate cash or cash flow coming in
  • Determine if there is liquidity for immediate expenses. This can be obtained by having a joint account. Note that a payable on death account might need the death certificate which could take a couple of days to get or require a visit to the bank
  • Discuss liquidity to cover major spending until estate is settled. This includes estate operating and administrative fees and taxes
  • Discuss all credit cards and automatic bill paying linked to those accounts
  • Discuss what advisor(s) survivor should go to for advice and guidance
  • Discuss choices of outside advisors, trustees and executors
  • Location of life and disability insurance policies
  • Review how assets and accounts are titled and determine if they are properly titled and survivor or beneficiaries will have access to the accounts
  • Prepare warning letter for IRA beneficiaries to seek professional advice. See previous blog:
  • Location of will, trust agreements, retirement account information, house deed and other pertinent legal documents
  • Discuss funeral arrangements and where cemetery and deeds to plots are
  • Prepare a list of people to notify of death and funeral
  • Discuss location of prior tax returns

To download checklists, click here:  Important Papers Listing and Checklist

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ed Mendlowitz permalink
    July 7, 2016 11:48 am

    40 pages of checklists – filling them out will be one of the most important things you can do. The checklists have liberal room to type in your info. You can also print it out and write in the info. This is VERY IMPORTANT!

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