Organising finances is probably the last thing on your mind after your spouse passes away. The bereavement that follows a spouse’s death is a great source of stress.
While you may not be in the best mental and emotional state to fix your finances, it may just be what you need to avoid drowning in grief.
You need to be strong for the children. They will look to the remaining parent for support, and you cannot afford to be incapacitated right now.
To pull yourself together, organising your finances will help keep your mind off what you have just lost and will help you look towards the future.
Here is what you have to do after your spouse passes away:
• Get a copy of the death and marriage certificates
These are important documents that will help with the activities that you need to attend to.
• Notify the insurance company
This will allow them to start processing the release of any claims that the beneficiary is entitled to receive.
• Find out if your spouse left a will
If your spouse left a will, get a “Grant of Probate” from the executor named in the will. On the other hand, the “Grant of Letters of Administration” is for the administrator or next of kin who is the surviving spouse.
The family lawyer will be able to assist with the distribution of the estate.
• Find out if there are other benefits
There are certain benefits that a person can get when the spouse dies. For instance, there may be an insurance benefit as part of the spouse’s employment.
If the deceased was receiving a pension or financial support from the government, that might be passed on to the surviving spouse. Ask the department involved if the benefit can be transferred to the surviving spouse or the children.
• Get in touch with financial institutions like banks and credit card companies
Let these companies know that your spouse is gone and that the accounts should be closed. If there is a balance that needs to be paid, use the estate left behind to cover these payments.
• Cancel subscriptions
Ensure subscriptions to various services are cancelled as the charges will continue even if no one is using them.
Work on each task one at a time and by closing these accounts and taking care of the spouse’s financial affairs, it will be easier to find closure.
Tips to financially move on after the death of a loved one
While it is normal to grieve the loss of a loved one, do not dwell on it. A study from Harvard indicates that losing a spouse carries a higher risk of getting a heart attack or a stroke.
That is how dangerous emotional stress can be. It may seem impossible to carry on alone but there’s really no choice on this matter. This is especially true if there are children.
They will need their remaining parent now more than ever. One of the important things to ensure is financial stability. You are now a single parent.
You need to take on the burden of financially providing for the family. Here are some tips that you can follow to make this easier to do.
• Decide what to do with what your spouse left behind
Decide how to use the estate to secure the future of the kids. If there was a will or a payout from a life insurance policy, use that to obtain a larger insurance policy. It is important to make arrangements for your kids.
• Analyse income
Check that the current income is enough to support the family as things will change with a sole breadwinner.
• Create a new budget
Create a budget that will incorporate all the changes in life, to ensure the current income is enough for all expenses. If that means changes to the family lifestyle it is important to do it. There is no sense in continuing a lifestyle you can no longer afford.
This article first appeared in thenewsavvy.com
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