No one likes to think of the death of a loved one. But since the life expectancy for women is longer than that of men, widowhood is a possibility that you need to take seriously. If you were widowed tomorrow, would you be prepared? There is really no way to prepare emotionally for the loss of a life partner. However, you can get ready financially. If you spend some time and effort in advance to make sure you can answer the following questions, you will ease the burden. Widowhood is an excruciatingly difficult experience; you don’t need financial pressure weighing on you as well. Does Your Husband Have A Will? If your husband doesn’t have a will, he needs to draw one up today. Without a will, it takes a lot longer to get closure, and things can get messy in the process. If he does have a will, you need to know where it is and have access to it. His will won’t serve any purpose if no one can find it. Also, it would be a good idea for him to review his will regularly to ensure it reflects his current wishes. How would it feel to discover after his death that his will still named his ex-wife as his heir? Where Do Your Store Your Important Documents? In the aftermath of your husband’s passing, his will is not the only document you will need. You will need things like your marriage certificate, his birth certificate, and his Social Security card to do things like request benefits or change the name on your car titles. You need to make sure you know where all of these documents are, in addition to automobile titles and property deeds. What Benefits Are You Entitled To? When your husband dies, you will be entitled to Social Security benefits and perhaps other things like pension benefits, life insurance, and annuities. If he’s still working, there’s a good chance you will be entitled to benefits through his employer that you are unaware of. Have your husband make a list of all of the benefits that you will receive at this death, and ensure you have all of the necessary information to claim those benefits. Do You Have Access To All Financial Account Information? You probably have a checking account, savings account, retirement and other investment accounts. When your husband dies, it will be your job to manage those. You need a list of all of the accounts you have, whether joint or in only one of your names, the type of account, the institution that holds it, and the account number. In addition to your assets, you have liabilities, such as debts, insurance, and monthly utilities. You need the relevant information for these accounts as well, including how and when payments are made. You don’t want to end up defaulting on your mortgage while you’re trying to cope with your husband’s death. Do You Have A Budget? An important part of developing a plan to move forward alone will involve knowing your current spending needs. If you don’t already have a written budget, begin tracking your expenses and create one. It will be an incredible aid when planning for the future. Do You Have A Trusted Advisor? Having a strong support system will carry you through the death of your husband and give you the strength to move on. Part of that system should be a trusted financial professional. In many marriages, the husband handles the finances and it is he who has a relationship with the family’s financial advisor. Once he is gone, his wife inherits an advisor that she neither knows or trusts. It is vital that you have someone you trust that you can turn to for help in financial matters. Widowhood is a very vulnerable time, and many unscrupulous people prey on widows. Take some time now to get to know your financial advisor and make sure you like working with them and feel that you can trust them. Your peace of mind is of utmost importance. If necessary, find another advisor. How We Can Help It is worth your time to prepare for possible widowhood before it happens. At Beacon Wealth Management, we strive to help you enjoy more and worry less. We work to prepare your finances for any situation and every stage of life. As you prepare for widowhood, we are here to answer any questions you may have. Call (304) 626-3900 or email me [email protected] We look forward to setting you up for a secure future.