Whether you have lost a spouse or partner through divorce or death, being thrust into singlehood can be an emotionally and financially jarring experience. To get yourself back on firm footing, at least financially, follow these five steps:
1. Finalize financial plans
In the case of a divorce, you must ensure that the terms of any settlement are actually executed, including the retitling of financial accounts, the transfer of divided assets to your new accounts, transferring titles on vehicles, etc. Be sure to notify your financial planner or CPA about your new status, including any changes to deductions (only one parent can claim children as dependents each year).
2. Update your estate planning documents
If you no longer have a spouse, you will need to update your estate plan, including your will, trusts, advance health care directive and power of attorney. You’ll also need to update your beneficiary forms for retirement and investment accounts as well as insurance policies -- and remember that beneficiary forms trump a will.
3. Scour your credit report
You want to be sure that any of your former spouse’s financial liabilities do not appear on your credit report. You also want to check for any surprises, including credit accounts you might not have been aware of but are still responsible for in the eyes of the law.
4. Don’t act too quickly
Emotion can cloud anyone’s judgment, so you want to give yourself time to grieve the loss of your spouse -- to either death or divorce -- before making any big financial decisions.
5. Gather a support team
As you sail forward into your new life, gather a good support team to help you navigate. This should include a financial adviser and a lawyer who share your values and can help you accomplish all your goals.
This article is a service of the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, an estate planning law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by contacting our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
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