The death of a spouse is one of the most life altering events you will experience. The sense of loss and the upheaval in your day to day life is enough. Couple that with the process of unwinding the estate of your beloved spouse. It is little wonder that many experts recommend putting off any irreversible life decisions during the first year following the loss of a spouse.
Many decisions cannot wait. The immediate decisions are conducting and possibly having to arrange funeral services, along with the task of notifying friends and family of your loss. Once the most immediate duties have been completed, you must begin the process of contacting all the accounts that your spouse had business with at their passing. This includes the mundane, like the power and light company and your phone provider. Banks and brokerages, along with any pension and life insurance providers are surely on the list. The executor of the estate, if not you, should be contacted if they are not previously notified of the death. If you are the executor, contact your attorney and accountant
As the probate process reaches its conclusion, and often as it is ongoing, you will also need to update your own estate plan. Your executor, trustee, and primary beneficiary may no longer be available and your needs will have changed. You can make changes to your estate plan in most cases. As your life evolves into a new normal, you can amend your documents. You rightfully should be wary of new people expressing interests in your affairs. If you have current trusted advisers, they should be relied upon to assist you in this major transition.
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