Death in the family is one of the hardest things to face. When a spouse passes away, this will totally change a big part of the financial picture. This can be one of the most stressful issues for a widow or a widower. For young spouses, particularly the ones with children, the sudden loss of income can be terrible. Some may feel a false sense of confidence when they get the lump-sum payments from insurance companies and they tend to overspend. Statistics show that 25% of widows go through their husband's death benefits in just two months.
The first thing that spouses need to do is to go through an understanding or an agreement on all the assets and liabilities that they have. Those who do not have that knowledge beforehand like big credit card bills may cause extra stress and confusion.
A good thing that you should do is to meet with a financial advisor or an attorney. Give them an idea of your financial situation and show them any documents like wills, insurance policies and bank or investment statements. They can help you sort things out and make your life easier. However, after a spouse's death, some scam artists may try their luck. They claim that they know or have an account with your spouse. Make sure that you ask for a proof like account statements but do not provide any yourself.
After meeting with an attorney or financial advisor, you would at least know where you stand for the immediate future and you would know what plan of action to take with your lump-sum payments. Your advisors will probably warn you not to make any major, irrevocable decisions right away like selling your home. They will probably advise you to invest your insurance or retirement fund. These professionals can help you get any lump-sum or periodic payments which you are entitled. Moreover, they also assist you in Social Security claims and benefits. Make sure that you understand everything that they tell you before making any major decisions plus do not hesitate to ask questions when something is not clear.