Losing a spouse (or long time significant other) can be one of the greatest challenges and most difficult periods in one’s life. We don’t want to minimize the grieving, heartache, and so much more that takes place for people when they experience such a loss, but those human elements are not something we can do real justice to here.
We can begin to help by providing one tool to track the practical sorts of things that still need to get done even when you are not in a good space to do them. There is so much to do and so many things to keep track of that having a checklist can be helpful. We have put together this checklist from many sources and hope that in a small way it can help you or someone that you care about go through the necessary financial, legal, and just plain paperwork steps that need to get done.
Click the link below for the PDF version or scroll to read the checklist here.
Surviving Spouse Checklist
SURVIVING SPOUSE CHECKLIST
THE FIRST WEEK
In the first week after the death of a spouse, the most important thing is taking care of yourself and your family. However, despite the undeniable need for the grieving process, there are also a number of details that need fairly immediate attention. As part of your overall support network, your financial advisor can help as you gather documents and make important contacts. Keep good notes on all your conversations.
Immediate document needs:
Safe deposit box:
Immediate financial needs:
WEEKS TWO TO FOUR
Now that your immediate needs have been attended to, meet with your advisor to make sure your finances are in order and appropriate for your new situation, and to attend to secondary but important matters.
Your financial advisor:
Notify key financial relationships:
ONE TO SIX MONTHS
In the first six months after your spouse has passed, work with your financial and legal advisors to be sure you have made plans for your needs, expressed your wishes and planned for your family’s interests going forward.
Meet with your financial advisor:
Inventory household items:
Begin distributing the trust:
Begin planning for taxes, including the establishment of trusts:
Plan for your children or extended family:
Determine any additional benefits:
SIX MONTHS TO ONE YEAR
As the year draws to a close, you will want to work with your financial advisor, attorney and others on your team to assess any additional planning needs, to value the estate for tax purposes and to file final paperwork. This is also a good time to bring your children or other close relatives in to meet with your financial advisor so they are acquainted with each other and understand your financial situation.
Value the estate:
Evaluate filing Estate Tax form 706:
Establish charitable contributions/memorials:
Hold a family financial meeting:
Plan for the future:
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual, nor intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.