It’s no secret that losing a spouse is difficult. It’s even harder when you’re still adjusting to the fact that they’re gone. But handling the grief process responsibly doesn’t mean avoiding the subject altogether. There are plenty of ways to discuss your loss of a spouse and process the final stages of your relationship so that you can look forward rather than back. This article covers some key ways to handle the loss of a spouse in your retirement age and some coping strategies for yourself if you find yourself in this situation.
Get Organized and Take Inventory
If you lose your spouse due to a death in the family, you must get organized and take inventory of all your assets. This may seem obvious, but many people don’t do this simple task after a spouse dies. They leave everything in a pile of papers or other documents in a drawer, a backpack, or a suitcase. This is a great way to go everything to your spouse’s name, and it can also cause a significant headache if you end up in an estate-court battle. Inventorying your assets will help you determine what to do with your assets upon death. It will also protect your assets if a future dispute arises about your assets’ ownership. This can be a complicated task, as you will also want to make sure that the will is registered in the correct county and that the name on the choice is the same as the person who died.
Get the Will and Estate Plan
If you are dealing with a decedent who was also a significant stockholder or a managing partner in a company, or if you own a large business, you must hire a qualified estate-planning attorney to prepare your will and other estate-planning documents. Make sure you structure your will so that your assets go to your loved ones in the proper order. Some people find it helpful to have a “living will,” which details how they want to die. This can be a complicated process, so make sure you have the help of an estate-planning attorney or a relative who is skilled in probate.
Get Multiple Death Certificates
Another way to help you properly handle the loss of a spouse is to get multiple death certificates for the same person. This will help you determine your decedent’s age and cause of death. You can then have your funeral home or crematorium order a portion of the death certificates in a special collection box for your loved ones. This will make the process of dealing with the loss of your spouse a lot easier.
Contact Your Legal and Financial Professional Advisors
Depending on how long you’ve been in the relationship and how involved your spouse was in your finances, you’re likely to run into issues along the way. Negotiations, estates, and other issues can cause problems when paying bills and other routine matters. If this is the case, getting your financial advisors on board is in your best interest. Having a process in place will make it much easier to deal with each problem as it comes up. Your advisors can walk you through the process of creating a budget and will help you understand your finances better. Some advisors even provide free financial planning services.
Review Your Bills and Payment Schedule
As difficult as it is to review your bills after a death, it is especially important that you do this now. You will likely be able to reduce your monthly or annual bill by changing your payment schedule. This will let you save money in the long run and allow you to pay your bills without a hitch. It is also a good idea to freeze your credit card bills until you can get your finances under control. This will also allow you to pay your bills in full and avoid interest.