Preparing for the loss of a spouse means having conversations that may be difficult. There are a number of things you can do now that will help you avoid financial problems or legal issues later.
Get a Handle on the Finances
If one spouse currently handles all of the finances, it is critical that the other spouse learns how to handle them as well. It is important to:
- Understand the household budget and the monthly expenses.
- Find out when and how bills are paid.
- Know your sources of income and what your expenses are.
If you feel unsure about handling your finances on your own, you may want to consider hiring an accountant to help you.
Review Beneficiary Designations
Review beneficiary designations for accounts, retirement plans, or other benefits. Update your designated beneficiary if necessary. Make sure your spouse has the information on all of your accounts and benefits.
Communicate & Get Up-to-date
If possible, share passwords, logins, and other critical information, and where to find or how to access information you may need in the future. Read Mark Daly’s article How to Prepare for the Loss of a Spouse for more guidance.
Have the Proper Estate Planning Documents in Order
At a minimum everyone should have a Durable Power of Attorney for financial affairs, Durable Power of Attorney for health care, and a Will. It is important to get these documents in order while both spouses are still mentally and physically able to do so.
At Elder Law Group PLLC we know that making arrangements for the eventuality of aging, Long-Term Care, and mental or physical incapacity can be very stressful and emotional. We strive to remove some of the burden from you and your family by helping you create an Estate Plan that addresses your needs in detail.
Contact us or call (509) 468-0551 (Spokane office), or (509) 579-0206 (Tri-Cities office), for personal, compassionate guidance in Estate Planning and Elder Law.