Death of a Spouse

Women - Pay Attention!

Consider for a moment, the death of a spouse... not a topic anyone cares to think about, but a reality for all of us.

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Why not take two minutes to read this and simply THINK about the death of a spouse - for you and for your family.

Do you know how much is in savings for a rainy day? Do you know what the balance is for your credit cards? your mortage? all debt owed?

If your husband died tomorrow, do you know how to take care of your household bills?

If you are reading this, and thinking this is a silly question -- think again. Many don't...

My mother-in-law lost her husband 30 years before she died. At his death, she didn't know how to write out a personal check. He had controlled the household budget, paid the bills, done the income tax. He drove (she didn't), he grocery shopped... and she enjoyed life with her children, hobbies and crafts - until he died.

Despite her grieving process, she had to learn quickly how to manage a household with teens, without him. She had never used a checkbook, never written a bill or budgeted... the simplest of things that most of us do, were her sudden responsibility at his death.

He wasn't a controlling man, and she was perfectly happy with her life, but imagine her anxiety in those first few years after his death!

Don't let this happen to you...

Do you know where all the paperwork is for your mortgage, wills, life insurance, health care, pensions - just in case the sudden death of a spouse happens? Sounds like an silly question, once again.... right? 

Years ago, I worked with an employee who was very ill and waiting for a transplant. He visited my office several times each year for a few years -- and every time, he wanted to be reassured that everything was set for his wife.

"If anything happens to me, my wife gets my life insurance, my health care, my deferred compensation account, and a life time pension, right?" And I'd reply, over and over... "Yes, right... here is your updated pension calculation for your records".

Unfortunately, he didn't make it to retirement -- the transplant never came and my friend passed away. His widow and son visited my office to find out what she might have coming. They were completely clueless on what she was entitled to. In fact, they joked about his desk at home... piled high with tons of paperwork they now needed to sort through.

I always found it so odd -- he never told her how he had provided for her. It probably was difficult to think about his own death -- especially to talk to your wife about your pending death. Instead, he lived those last few years, hoped for the best, and pretended all was well, while hoping not to worry her...

If I was her, I would have been totally stressed... worrying about her husbands health and also about a future without him. Her spouses death was pending and she didn't have answers.

Knowing he was ill but still employed, she probably worried about how she'd make it on one income. Could she remain in the home? Would she receive health care from his employer? And yet -- afraid to make the illness "real" by asking him the questions she worried about daily.

JUST ASK QUESTIONS -- A retired husband dies daily, somewhere out there, it's part of life -- just understanding the basics of your finances, now, will immediately give you Peace of Mind.

Just in case this happens, you lose your husband suddenly, consider this:

  • If your husband does the bills, do you know where the paperwork is located?
  • Ask about the mortgage and have an idea how close it is to being paid off.
  • How much debt is really out there?
  • Do you have a will?
  • Is there life insurance (or isn't it necessary)?
  • Is there an employer benefit due to you (life insurance, pension, 401k, deferred compensation)?

Just simply ask questions -- marriage is 50/50 and death is inevitable -- whether he is the wage earner or whether you both work, you both need knowledge of your estate when your spouse dies.

Did you already lose your spouse?

Are you grieving now?

Dr. Phil and Dr. Lawlis have teamed up on a Mind Body Series called "Coping with Grief and Loss".  It's not expensive, read more about what they will help you with, and consider whether you should begin TODAY to HELP YOURSELF. Please do it.

A few resources which may help you or your family member through the Death of a Spouse:

Recover from Grief AARP website which has lots of info on Grief and Loss.

More on Estate planning here.

Any Experiences with Death of a Spouse to share?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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A Secretive Spouse's Death 
My husband was so darn secretive it was unbelievable! He will be gone one year in February but when he first passed, I nearly pulled my hair out! …

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