6 Things To Do Before Your Spouse Dies – Part 1

I heard from a woman whose husband was just diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Her question to me:  What should a woman do before her husband dies?

My heart went out to her,  along with my admiration.  Instead of going into denial, she went into action.  Death is not easy to talk about,  let alone prepare for.  What would you do in her situation?  After all,  most women will face a similar dilemma at some point.

I’ll never forget,  when my father got ill,  I went to  my mother.  “Do you know what Daddy has planned for you when he dies?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” she replied quickly, but when I pressed her for details, she couldn’t tell me.  She also made it abundantly clear:  this was not a conversation she wanted to have.  I made it even clearer:  avoidance was not an option.  Here’s what we did:

1.       We had “the talk.” I had my Mom sit down with my Dad and we looked at all the financial documents:  bank statements, investments, estate planning, etc.  This was not, by any means, an easy conversation.  Dealing with death is emotionally excruciating, at least it was for us.  Nerves were frayed.  My Mom glazed over.  My Dad lost patience.  I kept scratching my wrist (a nervous habit) until it bled.  But by the end,  my Mom knew where every penny was and what arrangements he had made… and hadn’t made.

2.       We assembled “ the team.” My Dad was very much a do-it-yourselfer.   I wanted my Mom to have her own team of professionals to support and guide her (during and after).  First on our list was to hire an estate lawyer… we found one (through my sister).  Mom, my sisters and I met with him first, brought in my father, and together my parents created a very good, tax efficient estate plan… which my Mom not only understood, but had a big  role in creating.

3.       We updated documents.  We made sure the Will, Power of Attorney, EVERYTHING reflected their latest info and current wishes.

As I said, not an easy process.  Sadly, many of us will go through this.  But being prepared, financially, will make it a little easier.

In my next post, I’ll list the final 3 steps you need to take, to prepare yourself.  Stay tuned.

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
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Filed under: Financial Wellness

Comments & Feedback

  • Lena

    Hi! I have been through the worst thing I have even imagined would be possible. 9 months ago my husband died in a carcrash on his way home from work. He got 43 and left me and our two sons 11 and 16 alone. Can anyone prepare for that? Luckily we had talked about some things around death about the time when my father died, but I am just in the middle of taking care of our children, our house, our car, our summerhouse and so on. I have had huge help from my family, especially my two elder sisters. So, I have two simple advices for preparation; have healthy relations with your family and get an lifeinsurance.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss, Lena…you have my heartfelt sympathy. And I so appreciate your post..excellent advice to everyone. Thanks! B

  • This is such sound advice. I hope as many people see this as possible. Thank you for sharing your hearts and your lives. I am always astounded at how many people are drastically underinsured or don’t any have life insurance at all!

  • Thanks, Anne…I appreciate your taking the time to write a reply!

  • Barbara,
    We recently acquired a large sum of money. (400,000). My husband put it into an account souly in his name. Upon his death, am I as his wife automatically entitled to it? There are no vehicles or home in my name.
    What do I need to do to secure the future of myself and my step children?
    I can’t convince him that I automatically obtain these “monies”! Help!

    • Lilly, make an appointment with a lawyer TODAY, NOW! I have no idea what he has planned upon his death, but you need to protect yourself while he’s still alive.

      Read the first comment above…don’t wait to take action…NOW!

      And will you let me know what happens…pleeeeeease???

      Thanks so much for your post…I really do care. B

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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