choices can help brighten the future after the sudden loss of a spouse|
period, a widow should try to focus on gathering, organizing and making an inventory
of all assets and liabilities.
She will need to quickly get control of the
household bills if she was not paying them previously. She will also need to collect
and organize her husband's financial and personal effects, including:All
bank accountsMutual fund and brokerage holdingsSafe
deposit boxVehicle titlesHome
insuranceSocial Security benefitsRetirement
and annuity benefitsCredit cards and travelers
401(k), pension and profit-sharingWorkman's
Security Survivor's Benefits|
is really frightening is that people don't know where everything is," says
Hannon. "Many women don't have a clue where a lot of the investments are
or even who their life insurance agent is. They may have paid all the household
bills and wrote the checks each month, but they didn't deal with the big-picture
stuff. That's very traditional."
Once a thorough
search of files, home, autos and the workplace is completed, it's time to assess
the widow's complete financial picture. If the couple had a certified financial
planner, accountant or lawyer, this is a good time to compare notes with them.
Are there assets -- or liabilities -- that may have been overlooked?
sources of death benefits include the Social Security Administration, the Veterans
Administration, employment coverage and personal life insurance.
more thorough search for death benefits can be time well spent. In addition to
a life insurance policy, there may be accidental or sudden death benefits attached
to credit cards, bank accounts, loans, memberships in unions or organizations,
current or previous employers, or even home, auto or health insurance policies.
Once a widow has a grasp on her financial situation, it's time
to notify all concerned parties of her husband's passing (include a copy of the
death certificate as needed) and transfer such things as credit cards, licenses,
titles, bank and retirement accounts into her own name wherever possible. This
is also a good time to update her own will and life insurance beneficiaries.
issue of moving often comes up once the financial picture is clear. For most widows,
expenses will still run 80 percent of what they were before their husbands died,
according to WISER. For any number of reasons, including financial, a widow may
decide to move or downsize.