Why it's important to plan financials for the death of a spouse

For many couples, there is one of you who takes care of the finances, but if that person passes away, suddenly you are thrust into that role for the first time. (Source: 123rf.com)

It's a hard thing to think about but the day will come when your spouse dies.

Aside from it being heartbreaking, it can also be extremely stressful financially if you don't have a plan.

For many couples, there is one of you who takes care of the finances. If that's not you, you might suddenly find yourself thrust into that role for the first time.

You may not know where all of the financial accounts live; you may not know the log-ins or which banks are holding your money.

The sad reality is bill paying and other financial matters don't pause when someone dies.

I sat down with Lennard van der Feltz, a founding partner at Pinnacle Financial Advisors, who says sometimes the lack of financial planning before a death can add even more turmoil to the surviving person's life.

"More people are banking online and everything is online and if the person with all of the passwords passes away, you can't log onto your accounts anymore; you can't pay your bills that can turn into a ripple effect, that changes your life," he said. "That's when it gets really messy. If you have to do all of that yourself, you really are stressed already and having to do things you probably have to do once in your life, you've got to figure it all out."

Here are some tips from website marketwatch.com to help you take control of your financials if you have recently lost a spouse. Set up a meeting immediately with an accountant. Most have lots of experience in dealing with everything that may come up. They can guide you through this process. Becoming a widow or widower puts you in a different tax bracket. An accountant can help you figure the new deductions you may be entitled to. No one likes lawyers until they are needed. A lawyer can properly guide you through the probate process, which will take pressure off of you and enable you to start moving ahead with your new reality.Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

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