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Lessen the Stress of Becoming Widowed

Lessen the Stress of Becoming Widowed

It is no surprise that dealing with the emotional impact of the death of a spouse is overwhelming. For many widows, handling the financial implications of her husband’s death may be too much to bear. However, that is what most widows must do.

A recent study from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave on widowhood shows that a mere 14% of 3,300 respondents said they were making financial decisions on their own, before their spouses passed away. That is a very low number of women in charge of their financial lives as married women, says Press & Guide in the article “Financial planning can help ease impact, stress of widowhood, study shows.”

Widows are tackling major challenges in the days and weeks after the loss of a loved one. That includes everything from funeral costs, mortgage or rent payments, other costs of running a household and for many, medical costs. With nearly half of those in the study reporting a household income drop of 50% or more after the death of a spouse, that is an enormous burden to take on during a time of great grief and upheaval.

The women are also facing the tasks of juggling Social Security, pensions, life insurance and making sure that their late spouse’s retirement accounts are all correctly transferred into their names.

There is often a lack of preparation for this situation. Many are simply not prepared for how complicated it is to deal with the loss of a spouse.

The study reports that couples who plan for this situation, have their level of worry cut in half. Only 38% of the widows in the study who had conducted financial planning, worried about not being able to support themselves immediately after the death of their spouse. That compares to 64% of widows who had not planned at all.

Widowers (men whose wives have passed) face unique challenges. If their wives pass first, they may be faced with taking on their own caregiving. Statistically, women outlive men, so the widowers have to adjust to losing a caregiver. There may be new financial costs they would not have had to bear, if their wives were still alive.

The first step: meet with an elder law attorney. Make sure that a will and power of attorney are created, along with any other necessary planning documents. Both spouses should be familiar with all accounts, and both names should be on the accounts and all deeds. Don’t forget to organize all important papers in a file drawer at home or in a safe deposit box. Know where everything is and how to access it.

Having long-term care insurance in place and making sure there are assets available for caregiving, should be a part of everyone’s plan for longevity. Even if you don’t need home health care or to live in an assisted living facility, someone will eventually need to provide some level of care. 

Reference: Press & Guide (Nov. 19, 2018) “Financial planning can help ease impact, stress of widowhood, study shows”

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“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce