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Preparing financially before a spouse’s death

A married couple often invests in their collective estate while they are still alive. However, many couples do not prepare for the consequences of not planning an estate after one spouse dies. In Indiana, waiting until after the other person dies could bring unnecessary expenses and lawsuits to the surviving spouse. A financial roadmap ensures that the family’s finances are protected for additional years.

Understanding your finances

Estate planners start by knowing where they are financially and if they are in good or bad financial shape. They may request their credit reports and check the credit score along with a list of debts and payments.

Setting short-term goals

A roadmap is a detailed guide that includes an itemized list of short-term financial goals. Some couples want to reduce their weekly expenses while others decide to monitor the daily activities in their bank accounts.

Setting long-term goals

Preparing an estate plan is a common strategy that couples make. However, couples that wait until the other spouse dies could leave behind no will. With or without a will, relatives of the deceased spouse can challenge its contents in a court.

Couples can also set up one or more financial accounts. Trusts, retirement accounts or life insurance policies are the types of accounts that provide decades of financial stability after a spouse’s death.

A financial roadmap provides a step-by-step visualization of what should happen to your finances after a spouse dies. This plan includes short-term and long-term financial goals that affect the stability and wellbeing of your surviving spouse, children and heirs. A financial plan often works more effectively when it’s completed while both spouses are living.