Surviving spouses: revisit estate plan for your new normal

After a spouse's death, there is usually much attention paid to their estate and distributing their assets accordingly. However, when an individual loses a spouse, one needs to assess their financial needs moving forward, as there likely will be many changes. While a surviving spouse may have been left assets through their deceased loved one's estate plan, they usually have to adjust to going down to a single income.

Because of all the fluctuations happening in a person's financial, as well as their personal life, there is no better time for a surviving spouse to make an estate plan. This is often completely uncharted territory for surviving spouses, and it's entirely possible that the spouse who passed away was the one who handled the finances. Even more the reason to consider assessing one's current financial situation and any financial goals a surviving spouse may have.

Taking the time and making the effort to do this can protect not only oneself, but also their heirs. Estate plans often consist of a will, a financial plan, and a trust or multiple trusts, if assets are so managed in that manner. There are administrative documents that one may want to make available to loved ones, such as a power of attorney, in the event that incapacitation arises. There are many other reasons why one might want to make an estate plan.

One may never have imagined the day would come when they'd lose their loved one. However, there are ways to handle the change that can be beneficial to the surviving spouse that can better the financial situation in the short and long-term. Although an estate plan may have been in place when the spouse was alive, it's good to revisit it to make sure it still serves one's needs.

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