May 12, 2022

Financial Preparedness for Spousal Loss

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It’s not something that’s pleasant to think about, but the sad reality is that there’s a very large chance that you or your spouse will outlive the other.

To make matters worse, what is a very emotional and difficult time to begin with can be even tougher when decisions have to be made about the survivor’s future.

The best advice is to plan ahead, so the widow has a better idea of what to expect when the time comes.

Centers Health Care has a look at five ways to be financially prepared for the loss of a spouse.

  1. Get Financial Help Beforehand

It’s best to ask financial questions while you are both well, this way you are able to better understand your needs and ask good questions. Unfortunately, there are some advisors out there who do not look out for the best interests of their clients and target widowers.

  1. See How Social Security Can Best Work for You

If you are both drawing benefits, you can elect to continue to take the higher one moving forward. If you haven’t claimed benefits yet, you can either choose yours or your spouse’s survivor benefit, whichever is greater.

  1. 401(k) Decisions

Depending on your age, you can either roll over a 401(k) or IRA into your own account or can choose to take a withdrawal without an added penalty.

  1. Take Advantage of Tax Break

You can still file jointly as a married couple in the year of your spouse’s death, so in addition to more favorable rates, you can take advantage of a better tax rate on 401(k) or IRA withdrawals.

  1. Take Your Time

Outside of what needs to be done, take your time on making other big decisions, such as selling off assets like a car or deciding to move. Take time to grieve and then make these decisions after some time has gone by and you can reason things out more.

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