The New Widow/Widower Financial Planning Checklist

Losing a spouse is one of the most impactful and emotionally stressful life events that a human being can experience.  Even when the loss is expected, the level of emotional and pragmatic disruption can be profound.  A lifetime of shared decisions and shared finances has now concluded and must be rebuilt.

  1. Contacts
  2. Contact the children’s school (if applicable).
  3. Contact the deceased spouse’s employer (if applicable) and request information on: any unpaid compensation, life insurance benefits, how to continue health insurance, HSA account, 401K account, pension benefits, bereavement benefits.
  4. Contact all professional advisors: attorney, insurance agent, financial planner, tax preparer, investment advisor.
  5. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to cancel the driver’s license.
  6. Contact Social Security and Medicare about benefits. Choose which benefit to continue with.
  7. Contact the credit bureaus. You will need to provide your name, address, signature, relationship to the deceased, spouse’s date and place of birth (birth certificate), social security number, date of death (death certificate) and marriage license.

Equifax                                       Experian                              Transunion                             

(866) 349-5191                        (888) 397-3742                  (800) 916-8800

Freeze credit: (800)685-1111                                             Freeze credit: (888)909-8872

Request that a credit report be mailed to you and that a notation be made on each file saying “Deceased – do not issue credit”.

  • Documentation
  • Copy of the will. If the deceased spouse was an executor, beneficiary, or POA, updates will likely be needed.
  • The driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card, Medicare card, marriage license.
  • Multiple copies of the death certificate (at least 12).
  • Deeds and titles of ownerships (real estate, vehicles, etc.).
  • Annuity and life insurance contracts.
  • Bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards and accounts, loan accounts.
  • Make a list of usernames and passwords for all online accounts and websites.
  • Review bank statements, checkbooks and credit card statements. Make a list of recurring monthly expenses. Make a list of all other recurring expenses and when they occur.
  • Business ownership documentation and contracts (if applicable).
  • Work with your attorney and financial planner on executing a business succession plan (if applicable).

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