The death of a spouse is always a difficult time, both emotionally and financially. If your spouse was the primary breadwinner or had control of the finances, you may be left feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next.
Financial challenges you will face
Losing a spouse is one of the most devastating life events a person can experience. In addition to the emotional toll, significant financial challenges come with losing a partner. Understanding these challenges is vital for anyone who might find themselves in this situation.
One of the biggest financial challenges of losing a spouse is the loss of income. If the deceased was the primary breadwinner, the surviving spouse would often have to make significant lifestyle changes to adjust to a lower payment. This can include downsizing the home, eliminating unnecessary luxuries, and cutting back on expenses.
Another financial challenge is the cost of funeral and burial expenses. These can be pretty high, especially if the deceased had specific wishes regarding their service. Additionally, there may be estate taxes that need to be paid on any property that is inherited by the surviving spouse. This can add up to a significant amount of money, depending on the estate’s value.
Finally, there are often unexpected costs associated with losing a spouse. For example, if the surviving spouse needs to hire someone to help with household tasks or child care, this can add up quickly. Additionally, travel costs may be associated with attending the funeral or sorting through the deceased’s belongings. All of these unexpected costs can add up and put a strain on the surviving spouse’s finances.
What you can do
Losing someone you love, whether expected or not, can be difficult and traumatic. If your spouse dies suddenly, it can be incredibly shocking. Here are some things you should do to help your finances.
Gather all important financial documents
This includes tax returns, bank statements, investments, and insurance policies. Contact the appropriate institution or your spouse’s employer if you can’t find some of these documents. Getting a clear picture of your financial situation will be crucial as you move forward.
In most cases, sudden death is due to an accident or wrongful death. You may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit if this is the case. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you navigate this process and get the compensation you deserve. You can use this money to cover funeral costs, medical bills, and other expenses. You may also need to use it to support them financially if you have kids.
Create or update your will
If you don’t have a will, now is the time to create one. If you already have a choice, you’ll need to update it to reflect your new circumstances. This is important because it will determine how your assets are distributed after you die. It’s also good to name someone you trust as your executor. This person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes and making sure your assets are distributed according to your will.
Make a budget
Once you have the necessary financial information, sit down and create a budget. This will help you understand where your money is going and where you can cut back if needed. If your spouse was the one who typically handled the finances, this might be a good time to seek out professional help so that you can make sure everything is being done correctly.
Update your beneficiaries
If your spouse was the primary breadwinner, their death might have left you in a precarious financial situation. Make sure to update your beneficiaries on all accounts and insurance policies so that your loved ones are taken care of in case something happens to you. Doing this will give you peace of mind knowing that your family is taken care of financially if something happens to you.
Seek professional help if needed
Dealing with the sudden death of a spouse is always going to be difficult, both emotionally and financially. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with everything, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help from a financial advisor or therapist. They can help you get through this tough time and make sure that you’re on solid footing financially moving forward.
The bottom line
The sudden death of a spouse is always a difficult time, but it’s important to try and take care of the financial side of things as soon as possible. Gather all important documents, make a budget, update your beneficiaries, and seek professional help if needed. Taking these steps will help ease the financial burden during this tough time.