“The Widow’s Walk – An ongoing series of helpful advice for widows and widowers.”
It may have been a few months or a few years since your spouse died. You have lived through an intense, confusing emotional hurricane. Experts often say there are five stages of the grieving process – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – and you are finally beginning to feel that sense of acceptance.
At some point, you will be able to look forward and visualize your new life. Now is the time to begin to create new goals, visualize the future, and to plan for your “new normal.” How do you want to live your life? What makes you feel happy and fulfilled? What have you always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet? What might you try, if you absolutely knew you could not fail?
In parts one and two, we encouraged you to make an “action list” separated into three sections: Now, Soon and Later. First you did urgent things which had to be done quickly. Then you worked through the important items when they needed to be done. Now it is time to turn to the final section of your action list, the things that you put off until “later” when you are thinking clearly again. Here are some things that may find their way onto your “Later” action list:
Your “Later” List
- Begin to create new goals, visualize the future, and plan for your “new normal.”
- Meet with your CFP® professional Financial Planner to develop a long-term financial plan that reflects your needs and desires.
- Learn about how to roll over retirement accounts into your name.
- Meet with your estate planning attorney to update your own estate documents (will, trusts, power of attorney, and health care directive). If you need a referral to an attorney, call us.
- Keep one joint bank account for at least six months. Later, when new deposits are no longer expected, change your “joint” bank and investment accounts to your own name. Consult with your attorney or Financial Planner about retitling real estate and other jointly-held property.
- Review your current insurance policies to make sure they are meeting your needs.
- Verify that the beneficiaries named on your insurance policies, investment accounts, retirement accounts and bank accounts still fit with your new plans. We can help you coordinate these details, and avoid common mistakes.
- Consider purchasing long-term care and/or disability insurance if you are not already covered. We can provide you a referral to a specialist in this area.
- Apply for widow or widower’s exemption for homestead, or for homestead exemption to be deleted if it is a real estate investment as opposed to home.
- Send copy of the death certificate to the three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Several weeks later, request a free annual Credit Report from each at AnnualCreditReport.com and look for fraudulent activity.
- Meet with your CPA to file an estate tax return within nine months of your spouse’s death, if necessary.
For more than 26 years, our talented team of credentialed financial advisors has provided coaching and guidance to widows and widowers. Many of our professional staff members have special training in this area, and we’ve developed a proven Transition Process that allows widows and widowers to confidently start a new and enriching life.
If you or someone you know has recently lost a spouse and could benefit from the financial wisdom and compassion at The Enrichment Group, please give us a call at (305) 274-1600 or contact us online today.