Unfortunately, many women experience the death of their spouse in their lifetime. A study showed that 58% of women aged 75 or older have experienced the death of their spouse, while 28% of men have. A big reason behind this discrepancy is that women have a much higher life expectancy than men and therefore often outlive their spouses.
By surviving their spouse, however, widows often face several financial challenges, especially if their spouse died unexpectedly. Some of the financial challenges a widow may face include:
- Organizing information about their spouse’s bank account, investment accounts and credit cards
- Updating their estate plan
- Managing expenses with income changes
- Selling a business owned by their spouse
- Managing debt, the cost of funeral preparations and other financial obligations
- Managing an inheritance or insurance benefits
- Selling a car or home
- Filing and managing taxes
Widows can benefit from a robust financial plan to help them regain control of their financial situation and plan for their and their loved ones’ futures.
5 reasons why financial planning is crucial for widows
Several aspects of a woman’s life may change after the death of their spouse. Not only can their social and emotional wellness be at stake, but financial wellness can as well. Financial planning can help support a widow’s financial wellness so that she can feel confident that her wealth is protected, maintained and poised to grow, even after her household income has changed. Financial planning can help widows:
- Feel less overwhelmed — With the death of their spouse, widows may have to deal with a loss of secondary income and a sense of financial insecurity. These secondary losses can be overwhelming, especially when compounded with grief. A financial advisor can help ease this financial pressure by answering questions and clarifying how women can maintain their wealth and maximize their assets after the death of a spouse. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help a widow establish financial goals as the sole provider of her household.
- Understand their spouse’s financial obligations — If a widow’s spouse owed money in car payments, mortgage payments or student loans before they passed away, she may need to assume responsibility for that debt. A financial advisor can help widows understand their legal and financial obligations after the death of their partner.
- Determine what they are owed in benefits — After the death of a spouse, widows may be eligible to receive survivorship benefits from the Social Security Administration. They may also receive an inheritance or payout from a life insurance policy. A financial advisor can help widows organize the money they are owed and incorporate that money into their financial plan.
- Retitle their assets — A widow’s spouse may have left bank accounts, investments, land ownership and insurance policies in their name. After their death, these titles need to be transferred to the widow’s name. A financial advisor can help organize these deeds and make sure that all ownership is transferred to the surviving spouse.
- Update their estate plan — A widow will most likely have to update her estate plan to reflect the fact that her spouse has passed away. Her new estate plan must list all her assets in her name, how she would like those assets to be distributed when she passes away, and who will make her financial decisions in case she becomes incapacitated or passes away.
Talk to a ProVise CFP® professional about financial planning as a widow
Widowhood can create unique financial challenges. Financial planning can therefore be essential to a healthy financial situation after the death of a spouse.
At ProVise Management Group, our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals can get to know you and your current financial circumstances, goals, risk tolerance and personal values to help you develop a plan that works for you. We can also create a written plan for you at a fiduciary standard of care. All our written plans come with an unconditional money-back guarantee. If you are unhappy with your written plan, you can return it to us, and we will refund 100% of the fee paid.
Are you ready to talk to a professional about financial planning as a widow? Contact ProVise today to schedule a complimentary consultation.