Getting financially organized after the death of a spouse

Apr 18, 2011

After a spouse dies, there a number of responsibilities that fall on the surviving spouse.

Though it can be difficult to carry on following the death of a spouse, it is important to continue managing financial responsibilities, since abandoning them may make matters worse.

In order to maintain financial stability in the midst of grief, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune recommends first organizing the partner's affairs. Once all of the deceased's papers are together, the surviving spouse should begin to settle the estate, whether through a will - if their partner had one - or through local probate courts.

The next important step, the source recommends, is either transferring asset ownership or closing accounts. This includes receiving assets from life insurance policies and annuities and managing IRAs.

It is equally important that the surviving spouse continue paying bills. Those financially unable to manage until they receive death benefits should inform companies of their situation. Widows and widowers are also charged with the task of filing taxes on their deceased partner's behalf. Not doing so, the Tribune warns, could lead to serious consequences, including a lien being placed on the estate.

Though this advice may be helpful, it may also be worthwhile to seek the help of a financial adviser, since a number of concerns may arise that could be too complex to understand without outside aid, according to the Dallas Morning News.  

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