It is important that preparations are made to support the survivor.
It is unlikely that both members of a couple will pass away at the same time and the surviving spouse will be attempting to cope with the situation. They probably should not be worrying about about finances, according to USA Today in "How to prepare financially for being a widow/widower."
Here are some practical steps to take now, so you will be prepared to be a surviving spouse:
- The most important step is taking the time to talk and make sure that both spouses are well-informed about the finances and how to handle them.
- Run through scenarios so you will both know what will happen when either spouse passes away, taking into consideration what the surviving spouse's income and living expenses will be.
- If you can afford to do so, then delaying Social Security benefits as long as possible will give a surviving spouse higher benefits.
- Make sure that all beneficiary designations on retirement plans, bank accounts and insurance policies are correct.
- It may be necessary to hire a financial planner who can help the surviving spouse.
- Visit an estate planning attorney and make sure that your estate plan is up to date and adequately protects the surviving spouse.
- It might be a good idea to move into a different home that will be more easily manageable for a surviving spouse.