Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, and nothing can minimize the emotional toll it takes. However, it isn’t just the emotional aspect of losing a spouse that you need to consider; there are a variety of practical and financial issues that need to be addressed too. Of course, attempting to deal with these matters through the fog of grief is inevitably challenging, but help is at hand. Take a look at these three ways to safeguard your finances after the death of a spouse:
1. Get Up to Date with Your Finances
Ideally, you’ll already have a good overview of your financial situation prior to your spouse’s death. However, couples manage their finances in different ways and it’s not unusual for one partner not to have much information or knowledge pertaining to their finances. If this applies to you, it’s important to get up to date as quickly as possible. This will help you to understand what your financial situation will look like in the future and may provide you with peace of mind as you come to terms with the changes you’re facing.
For example, knowing whether you’re a joint account holder or whether your spouse held accounts in their own name will determine whether you have access to the funds held in the account. Similarly, identifying whether unsecured liabilities are held in joint or sole names will enable you to find out whether you’re liable for existing debts.
2. Take Legal Action, If Necessary
Depending on how your partner died, it may be possible for you to take legal action following their passing. If they were killed due to a criminal or negligent act, for example, the person or organization responsible could be required to pay you compensation. With help from an experienced wrongful death lawyer at Bert McDowell Injury Law, you can find out whether you’re eligible to make a claim and, if so, how to instigate legal action.
Although making a compensation claim won’t mitigate the impact of their death, you may feel that taking legal action does ensure that some form of justice is done. By holding those responsible accountable, making a claim could even be cathartic.
3. Find Out If Your Spouse Had a Will
More than two thirds of Americans don’t have a will, which can make practical and financial matters more complicated for their loved ones upon their death. Although there are laws regarding what happens to someone’s estate if they die without a will, these vary from state to state. In many instances, a surviving spouse will automatically inherit the estate, but this isn’t always the case. Due to this, it’s important to determine if your spouse has a will and to seek legal advice to ensure your rights are upheld.
Dealing with the Loss of a Spouse
When a partner dies, your practical and financial circumstances are unlikely to be your top priority. However, dealing with these matters can alleviate some stress and allow you to focus on the emotional aspect of your grief. With professional advice and guidance, you can safeguard your finances as you come to terms with your loss.