The death of a spouse is tragic event.
When you get married you imagine a “happily ever after” story.
You think about rearing a family together and growing old together.
No one imagines losing his or her spouse.
According to a recent Next Avenue article titled “Preparing for the Unexpected Death of a Spouse,” an early death brings specific challenges.
It is more common for husbands to die before their wives, generally by about seven years if the same age.
When this happens, the death of a spouse can be particularly difficult financially.
If the husband is the breadwinner and has not yet reached retirement age, the widow may not be able to collect retirement benefits.
How can you protect your loved one?
Both spouses should have life insurance to prepare for the death of a spouse.
Your policy should provide essential liquidity to pay bills, maintain the lifestyle of your family, and provide for the needs of any children.
Life insurance should be purchased early.
It does not have to be expensive.
In fact, term life insurance can be quite affordable.
If the deceased spouse was a member of the armed forces, the surviving spouse may be eligible for veterans benefits.
Another way to prepare for the death of a spouse is both spouses to understand their household finances.
Both husband and wife should know how to pay bills and log into accounts.
The couple should also understand the financial impact the loss of the spouse will have on currently non-existent expenses.
For example, childcare will need to be considered if the wife stays at home with the children.
If the husband does repairs, a handyman will be needed from time to time in his absence.
If either spouse held debt, this will need to be taken into account as well.
Planning for the possible death of a spouse is hard but important.
Working with an experienced estate planning is key to ensuring that any last wills, advance health care directives, powers of attorney, and trusts are in place and current.
To prepare for the unexpected (or expected) death of a spouse, you should take action now.
Reference: Next Avenue (Dec. 18, 2019) “Preparing for the Unexpected Death of a Spouse”