If you have been recently widowed (or know someone who has), consider these following items as footholds for navigating the barrage of financial decisions.

1. Don’t Make a Decision that You Don’t Have to.

We see the wisdom in this as financial advisors, but we are not the only professionals making this sound suggestion. Psychologists, medical doctors, therapists, or perhaps just the close friends around you will all likely point this out. Unless you know a financial decision is necessary and urgent, do not try to make one. It can wait.

2. Focus on What is Urgent.

Amidst the grievous situation, plenty of urgent matters await: funeral arrangements, attaining copies of a death certificate, care for dependents, immediate expenses, or the simple care of yourself. Most of the time, the only financially urgent matter is whether or not you have enough cash on hand to cover immediate expenses. (Remember, to maintain healthcare coverage for you and any dependents). Everything else can wait. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and it can be of great help to make any truly urgent decisions of the kind with the council of a trusted friend, family member, or professional.

3. Let Others Help You

Hopefully, you are fortunate enough to be surrounded by willing friends and family to grieve with you, handle logistics, clear space in your life to suffer the impact of your loss. Let them. The same goes for professionals. For the legal paperwork and financial affairs, call upon your insurance agent, accountant, financial advisor—whomever—to handle the technical work. That is why you have them in the first place. It is also worth noting a bit of caution in forming new relationships at this time. Even in today’s time, charlatans abound. Con artists parading as sympathetic professionals may prey upon your circumstance.

4. Move Forward When You Feel Ready

This seems like an obvious statement but grief can be disorienting as much as it can be clarifying. Once you think you’re ready to actually face the matters of longer-term concern, the logistics of planning, go ahead and take that first step. Start to gather up those resources needed to put your financial affairs in order: wills, personal identifications, insurance policies, financial statements, mortgages, retirement benefits, safety deposit box locations, business paperwork, memberships, all of it. Then, take stock.

5. Make Contact

In a very tragic way, your circumstances have been altered. Now that you’ve collected all your resources and taken stock, call on those respective professionals to advise and handle the heavy-lifting to help you adapt. Have your financial advisor organize your investments, close or consolidate accounts, reassign ownership where necessary, sort out your spouse’s benefits. (Go ahead and reach out to your spouse’s employer directly for this last item.) Have a lawyer settle the estate. Have an insurance agent reevaluate your healthcare coverage and walk you through their findings. Make sure your accountant is aware for the sake of necessary tax filings. Make sure any creditors are not waiting to the side accruing interest to outstanding debt.

Again, we at Compass Ion Advisors have served many widows and widowers through the tumultuous time of losing a spouse. We cannot spare them of their grief, but we can help them preserve their wealth, sort their finances in response, and coach them through the flurry of awaiting decisions. If you have this need, or would simply appreciate this kind of service, know that we are here and that we are able to help.

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