Suddenly Single - page 2
Steps to Get Through the Business
I had lost loved ones…Aunts… Uncles…Grandparents… Dear friends. Each was difficult in its own way and I miss them terribly. But never had I been shaken to the core as I was when I lost my 16-year old son to a brain tumor. It took every ounce of faith I could muster to simply put one foot in front of the other each morning. It took time. A lot of time. But with that unstoppable faith I found how to live again….actually enjoy life with my family again. What I didn’t realize is that it turned out to be a sort of training ground to prepare me for what lay ahead. For in 2005, my husband of 35 years passed away and I found myself once again, spiraling down in the depths of grief. Unbelievable fear consumed me, until time taught me that everything really was going to be okay again. But I had to take it 1 step at a time.
If you have experienced divorce, not all of the following tasks will apply but I found them helpful in my own walk through grief to GET THROUGH THE BUSINESS. Your attorney can advise you on the specifics of your personal circumstances.
- Meet with your attorney to review the Will and other important legal documents.
- Order sufficient “Certified Copies” of the Death Certificate. I ordered 20 and used every single one plus had to go down to the Office of Statistics to get a few more 5 years later. They’ll be needed for everything from changing the name on bank accounts and collecting on life insurance, to changing the name with the utility company.
- Contact your loved one’s employer and inquire about death benefits.
- Notify your life insurance company of the death.
- Request an advance on the insurance proceeds, if necessary.
- Contact the Social Security Administration and inquire about possible benefits. You may be eligible for selected benefits before retirement, at retirement or for minor children. Usually there is at least a 1-time death benefit which in my case only amounted to $250.
- If your loved one was a Veteran, contact the Veteran’s Administration about possible benefits.
- Meet with your attorney to reassess your estate and draft a new Will.
- Make sure that all documents reflecting ownership of any “Real Property” held joint tenancy such as your home, are changed to reflect sole ownership or consider owning them in joint tenancy with another family member.
- Remove your loved one’s name from your lease or mortgage.
- Apply for credit in your own name, if necessary.
- Check all insurance coverage against current needs. Review the beneficiaries and make any necessary updates. If you're retired, you may want to boost medical coverage and purchase long-term care coverage. Again, check with your financial adviser.
- Change the titles to your motor vehicles to reflect ownership in your name only.
- Notify your auto insurer of the change in automobile drivers and ownership.
- Remove your loved one’s name from your bank accounts and checks and consider adding the name of another loved one to the accounts. Check the beneficiary of each and make changes as needed to reflect your current circumstances.
- Take a close look at your investments to make sure they match your current financial goals, time frame and risk tolerance. Check with your financial adviser.
- If your children or grandchildren have yet to enter college, check how much you've already set aside for their education and determine how much you can continue to save in the future if necessary.
- Determine how much money you need in order to meet routine living expenses and how much you have available each month. Make adjustments as needed.
- Don’t enter into any contracts without your attorney’s approval.
- DON’T HURRY MAJOR DECISIONS. In fact I strongly advise clients to wait at least a year before selling their current home if at all possible, or purchasing a new one.