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STORM SEASON
Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Important Financial Steps After the Death of a Spouse

Important Financial Steps After the Death of a Spouse

Nothing is worse than the death of a loved one; the emotional trauma is almost unimaginable. But as painful as the loss of a spouse can be, the financial aftermath can be equally devastating if widows and widowers don’t take the necessary steps as quickly as possible. No one wants to think about it, but considering these important financial tasks now may make it easier for you to handle them when the inevitable happens.

Meet with Your Professional Advisors

In the weeks following the death of your spouse, you’ll need to meet with your attorney, financial planner and accountant. Gather the important legal and financial documents you’ll need to formulate a plan including wills, power of attorney and healthcare proxies; tax returns and associated forms; checking account, savings account, credit card, mortgage and investment statements; and insurance policies.

Probate Your Spouse’s Will

If you’re the executer of your spouse’s estate, you’ll be responsible for probating his/her will. The process can take from a few weeks to several years depending on the complexity of the estate. Ask your attorney for assistance as soon as possible.

Contact Your Life Insurer

If you’re the beneficiary of your spouse’s life insurance policy, contact the company right away to start the process to collect benefits. You’ll likely need to furnish a death certificate as well as other required documentation. If you’re planning to rely on the proceeds of the policy for much of your future income, it’s important to do so without delay.

Apply for Other Benefits

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for Social Security death and retirement benefits, veteran’s benefits and health or life insurance benefits from your spouse’s employer. Make phone calls to the Social Security Administration, the Veteran’s Administration (if your spouse was a veteran), and the HR department of his/her employer as soon as possible for more information on next steps.

Adjust Your Budget

Your financial circumstances have changed—especially if your spouse was your family’s primary earner. Your financial planner can help you evaluate your new income and expenses, making changes to your household budget as needed. Depending on your situation, you may want to consider downsizing your home, going back to work (if you’re not currently working), and other lifestyle adjustments.

Re-Title Accounts

If you have bank and/or investment accounts that were jointly held by you and your spouse, you’ll need to re-title those in your name. Contact the appropriate institution or firm for assistance.

Cancel Memberships and Payments

If your spouse was a member of a gym, country club or other such establishment, cancel his/her membership and any associated automated payments.

Update Your Will and Estate Plan

Work with your financial planner and attorney to update your will and estate plan following the death of your spouse. You’ll likely need to make changes even if your children or someone other than your spouse are already listed as beneficiaries.

Review Other Designations

If your spouse was the beneficiary on your life insurance policy, you’ll need to make changes. Additionally, you may need to assign another loved one durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy status in the event you are every unable to make your own financial and/or life-sustaining decisions.

While it’s important to give yourself time to grieve and adjust before making drastic changes after the death of a spouse, these steps should be tackled as soon as possible in order to protect you from incurring financial on top of emotional loss. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or to ask for assistance.