So when it comes to the family’s financial affairs, women need to be very well informed and organised.
The things a newly widowed woman might have to do
If you have a business, get together with your accountant and lawyer urgently and make sure it is being properly managed.
Then you must find his will, and get to your lawyer, who will help you get the necessary paper work underway.
If there is a family trust, your lawyer will help you take the appropriate steps.
If there is life insurance, you will need to get claims into the insurance companies.
Then ensure all home and car insurances are in place and paid. If life insurance is to be continued on your life, check who owns it and who should own it.
If there are investments, get on top of them ASAP – or appoint a trusted adviser to do so.
Instruct your accountant to check all taxes - have they been paid / are any coming due ?
Discuss any debts and mortgages with your accountant and lawyer.
Do a budget and see if you can afford to stay in your home, or do you need to downsize ?
Whilst joint assets will now belong to you, you will still need to alter bank accounts, car ownership papers, home ownership and so on.
You will need to make a new will too.
Unless you have to, do not make any big decisions in the first year.
Do not move house or to another town for at least 12 months unless you have to. Give yourself time to decide where you will live,
Snap decisions while you are grieving are all too likely to be the wrong ones.
You won’t remember this list and you don’t have to – it is here to show you why you need to be informed about your family’s finances.
How can a woman get prepared ?
You should always know what you own, what you owe, and how you will handle various risks that could wreck things. It need not be a complex task, but you should put it on paper, and update it often.
You could use a school exercise book or a computer, it does not matter which.
List all you assets and approximate values, your mortgages and debts, and any other liabilities. Add up your assets, deduct your debts, and presto, you can see what you are worth. If you do it often, you can see how you are progressing too.
Wills & Enduring Powers of Attorney
On another page you should make notes that you have wills, where they are, and if they are up to date. Do the same for your EPA’s.
Life insurances, house and contents insurance, and cars and boats. List them all and who they are insured with.
What other risks are you exposed to ?
Are you in business ? Do you need d public liability insurance? Do your employees have proper employment agreements ?
Are you heavily in debt?
Does your spouse like to take big risks ?
Discuss any issues with your spouse, and other advisers if necessary.
Make notes, plan actions you will take, and when.
Since you will probably live longer, you will also need to be tuned into money and retirement. You should work together closely on retirement planning with your husband throughout your working lives. Then if he is taken before you, you will be prepared and able to manage your affairs
The death of a spouse will be tough enough as it is ………………….
But this kind of preparation may help make things somewhat less traumatic.
This article was supplied by Alan Clarke who is the author of a book entitled “Retire Richer” which is a practical guide for everyone age 25 to 85.
Alan also writes regular articles on www.acfs.co.nz
Alan is an independent authorised financial adviser (AFA) and his disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge.