Managing Finances after the Loss of your Spouse
Managing finances after the loss of your spouse can often be a challenging task. Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is extremely difficult and can leave you emotionally vulnerable. Taking care of your assets and managing your finances at this crucial time may seem difficult, but it can be made easier with a little bit of planning and foresight.
What should be my first step?
Make sure that all the titles to any jointly held assets like home, other properties or investment accounts are registered under your name. A copy of the death certificate is the most important document which will help you transfer the property in your name. If your spouse were the sole owner of a property, you need to get in touch with the facilitator of their will for the transfer.
What do I do with the retirement account of my spouse?
Contact the employer of your deceased spouse and ensure a proper rollover of the retirement account into your IRA. This would enable the money to grow without you having to bother about taxes till you retire.
What about health insurance?
If you were covered under a joint health insurance or COBRA extension along with your spouse, your medical expenses should be taken care of.
What should I do with the credit cards?
Contact the credit card issuers and have the accounts changed into your name. Or, you can simply close the accounts and open new ones. You need to notify all three major credit bureaus. You can do so by logging on to www.annualcreditreport.com. Make sure you transfer all credits in your name within six weeks.
Do I need to make any changes for the utility services?
Yes. Contact all utility services like electricity and telephone to make sure your spouse’s name is removed from these accounts. You will be required to produce a copy of the death certificate to make these changes.