Unfortunately there are numerous occasions when a surviving spouse has had to not only deal with the death of their life partner, but has also had to deal with the double whammy of a poor financial future because appropriate planning was not done. This is a circumstance that can be prevented with some planning. Here are some tips to protect your spouse in the event of your death:
Provide Financial Security
In the event of your death, will your spouse be financially secure and have enough money to survive? A number of factors must be considered. Debt, ability to work and age of the surviving spouse are all important factors to consider. After evaluation, if the financial picture comes up short, obtaining a life insurance policy is a possible way to provide financial security. Meeting with a financial planner or advisor to review your investment plan to ramp up more income would also be in order.
Review Beneficiary Designations
When was the last time you checked your beneficiary designations on your bank account, retirement account, stocks, bonds, or any other account? It is a good idea to review those designations every 3 to 5 years to make sure that the correct person or trust is the designated beneficiary to receive the particular account. If you are divorced, you certainly want to make sure that your ex-spouse is not listed, as they will get all of the account as it will bypass your estate.
Get Your Debt Under Control
How much joint debt do you and your spouse currently have? In order to help your spouse have a secure financial future, make it a priority to pay down or eliminate joint debt. If something happens to you, your spouse will continue to be liable on the joint debts which could be a crushing load.
Updated Last Will and Testament
It is a mistaken assumption that everything you own will automatically pass to your spouse upon your death. Jointly owned property will transfer by operation of law to the surviving spouse. However, in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, if you do not have a Last Will and Testament, your spouse is 4th in line for your estate unless they take affirmative action. Even with affirmative action, your spouse will only receive one-half of your personal property and one-third of your real estate. It is vitally important that your Last Will and Testament be current and that your spouse knows where it is stored so that it can be located when it needs to be used.
Prevent Identity Theft
Be sure that part of your to do list after your death includes a notice to report your death in writing to the 3 main credit reporting bureaus. This will close off the opportunity for identity thieves to open new accounts, make purchases, or otherwise damage your credit which in turn could involve your surviving spouse with possible devastating consequences.