"A widow gets bombarded with all the things she'll have to do, so it's essential to have everything as organized and up-to-date as possible."
The thought of losing your spouse is tough, but inevitably one spouse will pass before the other. With women living longer than men, they need to be prepared in the case they become widowed.
Even when there is time to prepare for losing a husband due to illness, most widows are unsure what to do with their husband's estate. They do not have the training and relevant experience to know how to handle things.
To make matters worse, decisions that used to be made by two people now must be made by the widow alone.
Fortunately, with a little bit of preparation and a few simple steps, most widows will find that they are up to the task.
Forbes recently published a helpful article with some tips titled "The Widow's Guide To Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer."
Some of the tips include:
- Start with a professional will - If at all possible, before a spouse passes away, the couple should visit an estate planning attorney and have a professional, comprehensive will drawn up.
- Open a sole bank account - Many recent widows are surprised when banks close joint accounts when the husband passes away. Having another account in their name alone helps ensure that the money is there to meet immediate expenses.
- Update beneficiaries and ownership titles - If a husband is listed as a beneficiary on a widow's life insurance policy, retirement account, or something similar, then those documents need to be updated with a different beneficiary. It is also important to retitle any jointly held property.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you with all of the details.