What If Your Spouse Died Today? Are You Ready?

puzzle-piece.jpg I know.  What kind of a question is that? 

Of course, no one is ready for their spouse to die!

But it may happen unexpectedly one day. And you should do your best to be prepared in the event that it does.

From Inc Magazine: Who Gets Your Passwords When You Die?

 

If your spouse dies, emotionally you will be a wreck.  You will not be able to cope with regular life for quite some time.  You may very well wish that you had died yourself.

These are the very reasons you want to be prepared in advance should something happen to your spouse. 
 
In a previous article What To Do When A Spouse Dies: How To Get A Handle On Your Finances, Susan provided a list of items — things that you need to do should your spouse die unexpectedly. 

She reminds us of the fact that it’s wise to have certain items in order, as well as things that you should at least be familiar with before you ever need to actually deal with them. 

The most important items you need to have in order before the death of a loved one are:

Life Insurance Policy:  Your first concern will probably be “Do l I have enough money to pay for the funeral?"  You need to be aware of how quickly you can cash-in life insurance polices so that you can pay for funeral expenses — especially if you don’t have $5000 on hand. 
 
The Will:  No one wants to think of this until it is too late.  Lack of a Will, or not being aware of a Will can be devastating on a family.  Otherwise, the state may swoop in and dictate where you family’s money and property goes, and it might not be a favorable outcome for the surviving spouse and/or children.  (Here’s what will happen without a will.)    
 
Pre-Arranged Funeral Details: If you and your spouse have made advanced arrangements for funerals and burials, you need to be aware of the details of the agreements.  You don’t want to end up paying extra expenses that you did not anticipate when you initially made the agreement.
 
Retirement Plan Documentation:  Your spouse’s retirement plan will most likely pay out in the event of a premature death.  You need to know what the terms are and who to contact. 
 
Homeowners Insurance Policy: 
Some homeowners policies will pay for the home in full in the event of a premature death.  You need to be aware of whether or not such an agreement exists with your policy, as well as be prepared to transfer ownership of the home into your name or whoever’s name is mentioned in the Will.
 
Bank Accounts:  You need to know where all of the money is and whose name is on the accounts.  You will need it until you get your life back in order. 
 
Business Documents & Partnership Agreements:  You need to be intimately aware of your spouse’s business dealings.  The reason is that you may need to work with their business partners and customers in order to get your spouse’s affairs in order.
 
Safe Deposit Box:  This should hold many of the important documents listed here and in the previous article.     

The other items on the list are important as well, but you really only need to be aware of where they are and how to get your hands on them quickly. 

Those mentioned above are of the utmost importance if one is going to keep their head above water and keep the finances safe & sound in those days following a spouse’s untimely death.

Andrea Hermitt

I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future -- which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.

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