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Preparing for the Death of Your Spouse

Losing your spouse will likely be one of the hardest things you will ever have to face.  The last thing you need during a time of loss are surprises, so it is important to put things in order ahead of time.  Doing so will provide you, your spouse and your family with peace of mind.

Here are a few things to think about and discuss with your spouse to help you prepare for the future:


If you have been largely uninvolved with finances, now is a good time to learn everything there is to know about your bank accounts, bills, insurance and savings.  Are you aware of what your income will be and will it be enough to meet your needs or will adjustments have to be made?  The more information you have, the better prepared you will be when the time comes.

Gather detailed information about the following:

Estate Planning

Do you know how to locate and access your spouse’s will?  Who should you contact when he or she passes?  Have advance healthcare directives been given?  Did your spouse prepare a living will?  Do you know if he or she wants to be kept on life support?  Now is the time to gather together all your spouse’s estate planning documents, and if necessary, review them with your spouse to ensure they are up to date.

Here are the estate planning documents you should account for:

Funeral Arrangements

Ensure you are aware of your spouse’s funeral wishes. Does he or she want to be buried or cremated?  Will you need to purchase a burial plot?  Have adequate finances been set aside to cover funeral expenses?  Have arrangements already been made with a funeral home?  Knowing this information in advance and having an understanding of your spouse’s final wishes will make things easier for everyone involved.

Contact List

Having a list of important contacts and phone numbers will be very helpful during a stressful time.  Share your list with a family member so you can easily access it.  Include both professional and personal contacts:

  • Emergency Contacts
  • Family Members
  • Physicians
  • Attorney
  • Your Spouse’s Employer
  • Insurance Agent
  • Friends
  • Financial Advisor

Self Care

The loss of a spouse is an emotionally difficult time and it is imperative you take care of yourself first and foremost.  If you are not supported, it will be even more challenging to support others during a time of loss.  Stay connected with friends and family and consider joining a support group.  Others who have been through the loss of a spouse will understand how you feel and can help you process your feelings.

It certainly won’t be easy to cope with the loss of your spouse but by planning ahead and having a strong support system in place, you will be more prepared to face the future.

Find out how we at Fingeret Law can help you prepare for the future.  Please call us at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.

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