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After a spouse's death, put off big financial decisions

If your spouse passes away, you know you may have some big financial decisions to make. This could include doing substantial estate planning to alter the plan in light of your new situation.

For instance, perhaps your estate plan included setting assets aside to make sure you can cover your medical bills. You may need to use this money to pay the costs for your spouse, which were incurred before they passed away, but then you have to reconsider your financial position and plan for your own future. What expenses might you face? Are you prepared? Have you updated the will now that you're the sole owner of the family's property? There are many questions to ask.

That said, many financial experts refer to this period of time right after your spouse passes away as a "decision-free zone." They encourage you not to tackle these financial decisions immediately. While you may have to pay bills and take care of other obligations, you don't want to rush anything or make major choices -- like whether or not to sell the family home -- immediately. This is a time for you to focus on your family and get through the natural emotions that come with losing a loved one. After doing so, you can think clearly and rationally about financial matters.

Give yourself the time you deserve. Focus on what really matters. Then, after you have a bit more distance, take the time to look into all of your legal options. You have big decisions to make and you need to give them your full attention.

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Law Office of Suzanne P. Nicholl, PC
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