Losing Your Life Partner

Losing Your Life Partner
Losing Your Life Partner — Organizing and Protecting your Finances after a Personal Loss

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Organizing and Protecting your Finances after a Personal Loss

The death of a spouse is one of the toughest life events to process. If it happens at a relatively young age, there is the trauma of dealing with a life cut short. There is the loneliness and emotional adjustment of continuing on without your life partner. And, even if you were the one who handled the family finances, you could be overwhelmed by financial settlement issues.

Even if you were the one who handled the family finances, you could be overwhelmed by financial settlement issues.

Get organized and gather records

To settle your spouse’s estate and apply for insurance and government benefits, you’ll need to locate a number of documents. In some cases, you may need to apply for certified copies. You will need several original certified copies of the death certificate along with your spouse’s Social Security number to apply for life insurance proceeds, transfer pension benefits and apply for Social Security benefits. You may also need your marriage certificate and your spouse’s birth certificate and copies of insurance policies.

Since many of these actions are things you’ll be doing for the first time, it’s helpful to get expert advice from sources such as an estate planning attorney. An estate planning attorney can help you review the will and start the settlement process.

Take these actions soon

Here are a few things you may want to do following the death of a spouse to help protect your financial well being:

  • Contact Social Security to see if you or your children are eligible for benefits.
  • Apply for insurance benefits and any pension benefits.
  • Review your household budget and make adjustments to your expenses and income as needed. You may have immediate extra expenses, such as funeral costs, along with normal bills. If you are short on cash, you may be able to get insurance payments within a few days, and you may be able to delay certain expenses by simply explaining that your spouse died and you are waiting for insurance proceeds.
  • Update your financial accounts to your name and change beneficiary designations.
  • Review your insurance policies and make coverage and beneficiary adjustments based on your revised needs.

Plan with us

Once you’ve made it through the initial grieving period, meet with a financial professional to review your investments and revise your short- and long-term goals along with any changes to your risk tolerance. ING has trained professionals who can help you through this difficult time and guide you in making careful financial decisions that meet your needs.

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