Financial Steps to Take After The Death of A Spouse

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Losing a spouse is one of the hardest things anyone will ever have to deal with. Unfortunately, while grieving and in shock, there are quite a few things that have to be attended to. One of the most important matters to be dealt with is finances. If your spouse has passed and you’re unsure about what financial matters need to be attended to, follow these steps.
Gathering Documents
  • Obtain 10-25 official copies of your spouse's death certificate. You can usually obtain these through your funeral director at a minimal cost.
  • Get copies of your marriage certificate to apply for benefits and have accounts put under your name.
  • Find out your spouse’s social security number if you don’t know it.
Handling Spouse’s Finances
  • Notify servicers of any joint accounts.
  • Either have them put in your name or closed.
  • Cancel any subscriptions, memberships, bank accounts, etc.
  • Get any car or home titles, mortgages, etc put in your name.
  • Pay off any of spouse’s debts
  • Pay any relevant taxes
Money and Benefits
  • Notify servicer of insurance policies
  • Collect any money owed or;
  • End policies or;
  • Have them put in your name.
  • Collect any money owed to your spouse from employer.
  • Apply for Social Security Death Benefit to put towards burial expenses
  • Apply for Survivor Benefits if you are:
  • Over 60 years of age or;
  • A disabled widow over the age of 50 or;
  • Care for dependant children under the age of 16 (or disabled).
  • If your spouse was a veteran, apply for VA benefits to receive payment towards burial expenses.
There are also two piece of advice financial experts give to those whose spouses have passed way; 1) don’t make any major financial decisions for a year after your spouse has died and 2) keep one of their accounts open so that any random checks sent to them have a place to go.

We hope this list makes the process a little less overwhelming. We understand that a little help goes a long way in times of need.

By: Alecia Stanton

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