Financial Planning Following the Lost of a Spouse

Financial Planning Following the Loss of a Spouse

When your spouse or partner passes away, the last thing you want to think about are the financial issues you must address.

But you’ll have to take action and make important choices before it’s too late. Delaying these steps can put you and your loved ones in financial uncertainty, or even in avoidable hardship. 

You’ll need to be involved in settling your spouse’s estate. You’ll need to figure out if you’re responsible for any outstanding debts—and what those are. You’ll need to decide what to do with your spouse’s life insurance policy payments, and with their IRA and 401(k) assets. 

Most importantly, you’ll need to understand the full financial picture and how it may impact your life, your children, and grandchildren.

Even with family and friends there to help, preparing for this next stage of your life can seem overwhelming, especially if you were never involved in managing your family’s finances and investments. Working with a qualified, fee-only fiduciary financial advisor can help you sort through these difficult issues.

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Key questions surviving spouses ask fee-only fiduciary financial advisors on Wealthramp

  • How do I estimate and generate the income I’ll need to live on?

  • Which of my spouse’s accounts and assets will need to be settled through probate—and which won’t?

  • What documents do I need to file to receive distributions from my spouse’s life insurance policies and retirement accounts?

  • How do I find out whether I’m eligible for Social Security death and survivor income benefits?

  • Am I responsible for paying off my spouse’s credit card and other debts?

  • Will I need to pay estate or other taxes?

  • How do I invest any inherited assets to help generate the income I need right now and later on?

challenges as a surviving spouse

How a Wealthramp Network Advisor can address your challenges as a surviving spouse

Serving as your independent financial advocate, your Wealthramp Network financial advisor works only and directly for you. They will always act in your best interests. 

They can work with you, your attorney, your tax advisor, and the executor of your spouse’s estate to create a plan so you enter this new stage of life with greater clarity and confidence. Your advisor will:

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Help you obtain death certificates and other documents you need to apply for beneficiary payments from life insurance and other financial accounts
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Guide you through the process of filing for Social Security death and survivor benefits
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Determine which outstanding debts you’re legally required to pay—and which you’re off the hook for
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Create a comprehensive financial plan that outlines your possible income sources and expenses
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Recommend what to do with assets in your spouse’s retirement and taxable investment accounts
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Manage some or all of your investments to help fund your living expenses and long-term plans
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Provide estate planning advice that may move a portion of your combined assets from your own estate to your children and heirs in a tax-efficient manner

Protect your finances after a spouse’s passing

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The biggest financial mistakes surviving spouses make

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Never asking your spouse or partner to keep a list of their own and co-owned accounts, as well as insurance policies, in a readily accessible location

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Assuming you’ll quickly receive any of your spouse’s assets that have to go through probate


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Being unaware of credit card or other debt your spouse might have accumulated under their own name—and that you might be responsible for


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Underestimating any estate or other taxes you may have to pay

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 Failing to file a final tax return for your spouse

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Taking withdrawals from your spouse’s IRAs and/or 401(k) accounts without considering the tax consequences

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Failing to write your own will and estate plan for the benefit of your heirs


Work with an expert to avoid these costly money mistakes following the loss of a spouse or partner

We won't sell your data. You decide which advisors to talk to. And you won't receive any pushy sales calls from Wealthramp.
Get started now to see your financial advisor matches