Becoming a Surviving Spouse
We cannot stress enough the importance of planning in advance, we often encourage families to use an Advanced Healthcare Directive to plan and determine what they want or need but there will always be unforeseen details after a loved one passes. After losing her husband and realizing that there is not an instruction manual for a surviving spouse, Bobbe compiled a list of suggestions from her experience that could be helpful to others.
- Call Social Security about your account. Social Security notifies MEDICARE when a spouse passes, affecting that month’s payment. If you spouse passes before the end of the month, you will not receive that month’s payment; however, if the payment was deposited in your account, you must go the Social Security office to prevent any unnecessary withdrawals from your account.
- Cancel health insurance supplements for the spouse and discuss any and all unpaid medical charges with the insurance company.
- Transfer over airline miles to a separate account in your name. Airlines have different policies so be sure to ask what documents they require, some require the original death certificate while others accept copies.
- Remove your spouse from the car registration after the 41-day waiting period.
- Call all mailers to stop receiving mail for the deceased.
- Check the primary account holder for credit cards. If it is the deceased spouse, do not cancel the card until you open a new card with yourself as the primary account holder. Canceling the previous one before opening a separate card before will prevent account fraud, charges, and freezes.
- Request a “Date of Death Appraisal” from a realtor. A “Date of Death Appraisal” provides a new value basis for your property. After receiving this appraisal, contact a CPA about the fair market value on the investment on the day you lost your spouse.
- Notify your financial advisor. Your financial advisor will update your family trust by removing the deceased spouse and renaming it to your name anywhere the updated information needs to appear (checks, bank statements, etc.).
Thank you Bobbe for sharing your experience and the tips you used to help you navigate becoming a surviving spouse. For those grieving, helping others is a gift that helps them to move forward as well as help those in need.