When your partner in life passes on, several steps should be in place or addressed immediately to navigate through this very difficult time. When it happens (suddenly or anticipated), it isn’t easy to think logically and move forward. But tragically, many of us are not prepared and are completely taken off guard.
As soon as you’re able, a good place to start is to contact your financial team, attorney, account/tax consultant, and your financial advisor. Also, make a to-do list for gathering and action steps that would include the following:
- Gather Wills, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates
- Bank Accounts listing – check account titling
- Retirement Accounts – 401K’s, IRA’s – transfers and beneficiary updates
- Financial Records – Latest statements
- Tax Impacts (if applicable)
- Veteran Statement (if applicable)
- Life Insurance – gather policies, contact your agent or the insurance company
- Contact Employer – you are probably already listed as the primary contact by HR
The surviving partner should look at their retirement plan and review the effects of what’s happened, and adjust the plan. Having a life insurance policy is an example of a good planning decision that can lessen the negative impact on your financial plan due to a death.
If there are children, especially young children, a look at the preexisting plan for future college tuition expenses and assess the effect of a significant reduction in income. The new plan may require adding borrowing or increasing borrowing for tuition when the time comes.
Additionally, the internet is undoubtedly very important in the course of a couples/family’s existence. It may be advisable to have a list of accounts and passwords.
If you and your partner are enjoying your life together, as uncomfortable as it may seem for you and your significant other to discuss a plan, now is the time. It’s a good idea. Your financial adviser will be helpful in the formulation of a plan now and in the future.
Those couples that prepare ahead of time do each other a favor by having a plan in place, and it is a great final gift.
Disclosures: The views, opinions, and content presented herein are for informational purposes only. They are not intended to reflect a current or past recommendation; investment, legal, tax, or accounting advice of any kind; nor a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any securities or investment services. Winthrop Partners does not provide tax advice or legal advice. Before taking any action, you should first consult with a tax or legal professional.