It’s not something anyone wants to think about, but the death of a spouse is reality many will face. So why aren’t they preparing for it? If something were to happen to one in the relationship, how would the other function? What steps should be taken in preparing for the death of a loved one? No one is ever ready emotionally for the death of a spouse, but you can prepare financially for what you may someday face.
Brad Parker says communication is key.
“It’s important that there is good communication between you and your spouse so they know what your wishes are. I’d also suggest meeting with an estate planner or probate lawyer ahead of time in case the worst should occur.”
Preparing for the business part of losing a spouse can make the personal aspect of grieving easier to bear, and there are two important ways to get started now.
1. Have a Will in Place
“I can’t express enough how important it is to have a will in place. If you have any kind of assets, you want your loved ones to know your wishes,” Brad Parker says. “Also, the cost of probating goes up exponentially if there is no will in place.”
Not only can a will legally protect your spouse, children and assets, it can also spell out exactly how you would like things handled after you have passed on.
As life changes, it is wise to revisit your will periodically or upon certain major life events to ensure that your will still reflects your desires. Remember that the best of wills won't be any good if nobody knows how to find it. Make sure your family knows where the will is kept.
2. Create a “Just in Case” File
Brad says, “Spouses should make a list of passwords for all online accounts, including 401(k)s, investments, bank accounts, really everything. This list should be stored in a place that both spouses, and perhaps adult children, know about.” Organized documents should include:
- Identification documents such as birth certificates, marriage license, social security cards, etc.
- Estate documents like wills and trusts
- Copies of insurance policies and policy numbers for life, health, disability, long-term care, etc. It’s wise to also include premium payments and how they are paid.
- Deed, mortgage information and homeowners insurance information
- Car titles, car insurance and loan information
- List of credit cards, card numbers, website, user IDs and passwords and how payment is made each month
- List of bank and investment accounts, account numbers, website, user id and password, and contact name
- Copy of last tax return
- List of Monthly Bills
- Online Accounts – list of all passwords not listed in other sections for accounts, including user ID and passwords for email accounts, social media and business websites
- Location of safety deposit box, location of keys, copy of authorization for access
- Name and contact information for people who provide service such as an accountant, lawyer, executor, priest/minister/rabbi, friends and business associates to notify
- Documents for pre-arranged items, wishes regarding burial or cremation, burial policies, who is to write the obituary and music selections
Has A Loved One Died Due To The Negligence of Others?
If your loved one has died due to the negligence of someone else an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you hold them responsible. Contact us online or call our Bedford, Texas office directly at 817.440.3888 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.