Life After Loss: How Does this Affect Your Estate Plan?

Life After Loss: How Does this Affect Your Estate Plan?
The loss of a beloved spouse or partner is among the most devastating experiences a person can have. Regardless of how long you might have had to prepare for their passing, it’s incredibly difficult to brace for such a catastrophic emotional blow. In the days and weeks following such a loss, it’s important to surround yourself with a trusted circle of friends, loved ones, and professionals with your best interests in mind.

Your estate planning attorney is one such professional to keep in touch with in the wake of a loss. While you might want to focus all of your attention on the grieving process, you’ll need to recalibrate your estate plans to ensure your finances are protected. A death in the family can have a number of unintended consequences, and failing to update your estate plans in a timely fashion could leave you vulnerable to unwelcome surprises.

While the estate may be the last thing on your mind at the moment, lean on your estate planning attorney for support. They’ll help you understand what decisions need to be made and help you put those choices into practice. For starters, an attorney can help tie up any loose ends surrounding your spouse’s retirement benefits or pension. Health insurance policies, for instance, can be incredibly time-consuming to cancel. An attorney can make that process simpler.

You’ll also want to speak with your spouse’s estate planning attorney to get a good grasp on your role moving forward. In some cases, spouses designate one another as the fiduciary of their estate. If that’s true for your situation, you’ll want clarity on the expectations and plans to carry out the wishes of the deceased.

An estate planning attorney can work collaboratively with tax and financial planners to tie up other loose ends. The tax procedures following the loss of a spouse can be confusing for even the most money-savvy among us. By assembling an advisory group of professionals you trust to handle the affairs of your spouse, you’ll ensure your bases are covered.

In many cases, you’ll also need to update your own estate plans to reflect the loss of your spouse. If your husband or wife was your only beneficiary, it’s important to revise your plans with another beneficiary in mind. It’s smart to routinely check in on your estate plans to ensure they reflect your goals and priorities, but it’s more important than ever to do so after the death of a spouse.  Call us today, 501-221-7776.

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