Women And Money: 7 Strategies For The Widowed Woman

All kinds of emotions run wild right after the death of a loved one – anger, despair, urgency, the need to do something. I have come to think of these as fairly common emotional responses to the helplessness a woman feels about her inability to prevent death.

 In truth, there is very little that absolutely must be done immediately, and it is important, before taking quick action, to give your emotions time to heal and seek reliable counselors.

 Review your current estate planning documents to determine who is in charge now that your husband is deceased and make appropriate revisions.

  1. Review the dispositive provisions of your will and trust to determine who will receive your assets at your death and make sure that it is what you still intend.
  2. Coordinate the primary and secondary designation of the beneficiary forms of all life insurance policies, IRAs, annuities and pension benefits to make sure they are in order.
  3. Fund your revocable trust with the assets you and your husband owned jointly with a right of survivorship or as tenants by the entirety so that at your death those assets will avoid probate.
  4. Explore long-term care insurance.
  5. Get a handle on your revised financial situation and put together a new financial plan that takes these revisions into account. Understand how your pension and social security payments will change after your husband’s death. Understand what additional assets you will receive (such as life insurance proceeds). Understand what income sources, such as salary will be lost. Review your expenses and liabilities to determine how they will be affected.
  6. Put together a team of advisors who can assist you in sorting through your husband’s affairs and in putting your new financial and estate planning map together.

 Dealing with these issues on your own, as a widow, after extreme emotional stress, is difficult. Sometimes widows willingly turn over all decision making to someone else so they won’t have to think about these issues. Under the circumstances, this is certainly understandable. However, except in rare instances, no one can deal with most of these issues better than you.


Patricia Annino is a nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  For more visit:  www.patriciaannino.com



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