No one wants to think about being alone and without your spouse by your side, and as much as it is painful to think about, it must be discussed and planned for as the reality is at some point in every life the inevitable will occur.
So, let’s discuss what you both need to know from an unemotional standpoint and take a realistic approach to this difficult conversation.
As a financial advisor, I am painfully aware of how often I get the call from a client or friend who has suddenly lost their loving spouse, find themselves alone, and realize they have no idea how to proceed or what to do next so that they can go on living their lives.
The purpose of this blog is to share important information with all of you so that you and your spouse are both well prepared far in advance of any eventuality.
What Spouses Need to Share With Each Other
Here are just a few things you and your spouse need to address so that neither one is caught off guard when there is a sudden illness or death.
- Do you both have a last will and testament and has it been updated within the past five years or less?
- Do you have a Healthcare Proxy signed and in a safe place?
- Do you each know the other’s logins and PWs for all accounts including computers and emails, banking, investments, credit cards, social media, to name just a very few.
- Download our Digital Asset Inventory Checklist which is invaluable for keeping track of EVERY important digital (online) account.
- Are all of your important documents including birth certificates, marriage licenses, any previous divorce documents, in one place and does your spouse know where they are?
- Do you understand the impact of losing your spouse’s monthly social security income?
- Will you be able to retain your current home and live your current lifestyle, or have to make residential or budgetary changes?
- Do both of you know how to access all of your investments and reach your financial advisor, your attorney (if you have one), your accountant, and any other professionals who can help you in this situation?
- Are there minor children to take care of and do both of you agree about how to finance their future education?
- Is this a second marriage for either of you or both of you and are there children from previous marriages? Are you aware of your spouse’s intention for his/her first family?
- Are there special family heirlooms or jewelry that are to be left to you or other individuals?
- Do you and your spouse own a property or several together or individually?
- What insurance policies do you each have and who are the beneficiaries?
- Are there business entities that either of you or both of you are involved in?
- Are Buy-Sell Agreements in place and Key Man policies up-to-date?
- Do you understand the consequences of Estate Taxes where you live?
There is So Much to Remember
We don’t want all of this information to overwhelm you. If you would like some guidance, please do not hesitate to call upon me so that I can act as a trusted advisor for you and your spouse. Together we can make some decisions and answer some questions that you both may have about preparing for future lifecycles. When an outside professional is part of the discussion, there is less conflict and cooler heads prevail.
I hope you will not consider this information as only food for thought, but rather fuel for action.
Having “the talk with your spouse” doesn’t have to be unsettling and is meant to give peace of mind and understanding to both of you. And remember, it’s all about love.
Please feel free to share this with friends or family members who might benefit from this information. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Saul Simon is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors.
Securities and advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (Member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Simon Financial Group is a marketing name for business conducted through Lincoln Financial Advisors. Lincoln Financial Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice.