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Where Should You Turn for Advice When Your Spouse Passes?

Updating Your Estate Plan After Divorce
Losing your spouse can be a critical moment in your life, during which you’ll need support from friends and family and plenty of time to heal. You’ll also want to rally a trusted team of experts who can help a new widow through new and probably unwelcome territory.

Where should you turn for advice when your spouse passes? Kiplinger’s recent article entitled, “I’m a New Widow. Who Are the Experts I Should Consult?” looks at some of the most important professionals you need on your team when you lose your spouse. If you are a current client of Beck, Lenox & Stolzer Estate Planning and Elder Law, you should already know that your estate planning attorney is one of them!

Financial Adviser. A financial adviser should be a fiduciary, fee-only adviser. Interesting fact: more than eight in ten widows switch from the financial adviser originally chosen by their spouse. That’s because, frequently, the adviser had a relationship with the deceased spouse and never fully involved the wife in the financial planning and investing processes. A financial adviser can help sort out your immediate financial issues, such as settling portions of an estate. However, their main purpose is to help you plan your long-term financial future. Remember that you’ll have different financial issues as a widow than you did as a couple.

Estate Planning Attorney. Locate your spouse’s original will and make an appointment to review it with your current estate planning attorney. If you have moved or your attorney is no longer practicing, find an experienced one in your area. Ask the attorney about any possible state and federal estate taxes due, along with any unforeseen death-related expenses. Your attorney will also help you with estate court filings, creditor notifications and asset distributions— making the process as easy and straightforward as possible.

Therapist, Grief Counselor, or Other Mental Health Professional. In addition to addressing your financial future, your emotional and mental health is of vital importance. Losing a spouse can be one of the most emotional life events we face.  Not only did you lose your life partner, but also the future that you had planned together.

Grief counseling, also known as bereavement counseling, can be especially helpful in allowing you to cope with your spouse’s death. A good grief counselor will provide a safe space to discuss your feelings and help you to develop tools and strategies to get through this difficult time and to heal.

Grief affects everyone differently and at different times. It’s important not to go through this alone. Your team of advisers can help guide you towards a professional who is experienced in grief counseling.

Whether you are a current client of Beck, Lenox & Stolzer or not, please keep in mind that a significant amount of our practice is in Elder Law, in addition to Estate Planning. Unless your spouse dies young, you may want to learn more about how our attorneys can help you plan ahead for possible long-term care needs. To learn more, check out our website and consider scheduling a phone consultation at no charge with one of our attorneys.

Reference: Kiplinger (Nov. 23, 2022) “I’m a New Widow. Who Are the Experts I Should Consult?”

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