Thursday, June 5, 2014
Many people have delayed simple estate planning, refusing to think about what would happen if they were to die suddenly. The unexpected death of a spouse can leave a major financial strain on the survivor if proper plans have not been made.
Jennifer Black, author of “Managing Alone,” explains that a will is not going to ensure that a couple’s finances are structured such that when someone dies, the survivor has access to cash and all the bank accounts do not get frozen. One of the most important aspects of estate planning is the merging of information. Some professionals suggest outlining where all assets and life insurance policies are placed, then document contact information for accountants, lawyers and financial planners. Couples should consider how their assets are to be divided among children and other relatives, so if an accidental death occurs, those plans are laid out.
The death of a spouse is a devastating event, and for that reason, it may be worth having a friend or relative as a sounding board for major financial decisions. “As the widow or widower you make the decision in the end, but at least you’ve had some dialogue around it and have more confidence in it.”
See David Friend, Preparing for Death: Tips on How Couples Should Discuss and Plan Their Finances, Nanaimo Daily News, May 29, 2014.