It is unlikely that you and your spouse will pass away at the same time, so it is important to prepare for what will happen when one of you passes first, to make sure the other has what he or she will need.
One of the last things many elderly couples would prefer to think about is what will happen when one of them outlives the other. However, that will most likely be the case for all couples.
This can be a big issue to deal with emotionally. When it happens, the surviving spouse will not want to have to worry about finances. USA Today discusses this issue in “How to prepare financially for being a widow/widower.”
Here are some practical steps to take now, so you will be prepared to be a surviving spouse:
- The most important step is taking the time to talk and to make sure that both spouses are well-informed about the finances and how to handle them.
- Run through scenarios so you will both know what will happen when either spouse passes away, taking into consideration what the surviving spouse’s income and living expenses will be.
- If you can afford to do so, then delaying Social Security benefits as long as possible will give a surviving spouse higher benefits.
- Make sure that all beneficiary designations on retirement plans, bank accounts and insurance policies are correct.
- It may be necessary to hire a financial planner who can help the surviving spouse.
- Visit an estate planning attorney and make sure that your estate plan is up to date and adequately protects the surviving spouse.
- It might be a good idea to move into a different home that will be more easily manageable for a surviving spouse.
Reference: USA Today (Jan. 19, 2018) “How to prepare financially for being a widow/widower.”