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Steps to Follow When Spouse Passes

Serving Clients in the Gilbert, Arizona Area

Steps to Follow When Spouse Passes
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Losing a spouse can be an overwhelming and emotional experience. While it's possible to organize financial documents ahead of time, there's no way to truly prepare.

Unfortunately, during the grieving process, a surviving spouse must navigate the complex financial issues that arise after the death of their spouse. Here’s a checklist for surviving spouses from Forbes’ recent article, “What To Do After The Death Of A Spouse.”

There’s plenty to do after the passing of a spouse. However, only some things need to get done right away. Here are some immediate non-financial considerations:

  • Obtaining multiple copies of the death certificate
  • Asking a friend/relative to watch the house during the funeral or memorial service because robberies and vandalism can happen
  • Arrange to have any pets taken care of in-home or boarded; and
  • If you plan to visit family away from home, have the mail forwarded to that address or the executor if it isn’t you.

There are other things to avoid doing. Here are five common mistakes made by new widows (er)s:

  • Failing to adjust or remove a spouse’s social security number from accounts
  • Missing tax and other important deadlines
  • Failing to confirm if required minimum distributions (RMDs) from retirement accounts were taken before death; and
  • Transferring assets before authorization from the estate plan.

You should also organize your financial situation. Collect financial documents and statements, including bank statements, investment account statements (brokerage and/or trust accounts), retirement account statements and beneficiary designations, life insurance policies, pension details and outstanding debts or liabilities, including any mortgage or loan balances, credit card balances and unpaid bills.

Also, get ahold of the estate planning documents.

To learn more about estate planning in the East Valley, Gilbert, Mesa and Queen Creek, schedule your free consultation with Attorney Jake Carlson by using one of the links above.

Reference: Forbes (April 20, 2023) “What To Do After The Death Of A Spouse”