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How do I deal with being the surviving spouse?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | Estate Planning

First of all, breathe. The ones we lost want us to move on. They want us to live our best lives, and they want us to find happiness again. Though, because it is devastating, surviving spouses are likely not focusing on their financial well-being. But, there are some things that the surviving spouse should do after the death of their better half.


The first thing one should do is give notice to those agencies that need notice, like the spouse’s employer. This is important because the surviving spouse will need to get the retirement and spousal benefits information. Social Security will also need to be contacted to ensure that one gets their survivor benefits, along with insurance companies to get life insurance payouts. As appropriate, cancel services that one does not use, and activate the survivor payouts on brokerage and financial accounts. Do not forget the credit bureaus too.

Get the estate plan

Contact the estate planning attorney to get all the estate planning documents activated, like the will, trust documents, etc. The attorney should be able to also walk one through the documents and through the next steps specific to their situation.


Do not hurt the good credit built as a couple. Keep track of the bills, and make sure they are paid. Avoid missing and late penalties, and cancel those bills that are no longer relevant, like gym memberships.


When some accounts are alerted of the death of the account holder or an account holder (joint accounts), they automatically freeze or close those accounts. This means that one should withdraw an appropriate amount of cash to ensure that the basics are covered while everything is worked out. Otherwise, one may find themselves unable to pay for expenses and bills, including funeral and burial costs. For our Newport, Kentucky, readers, please know this is not a process one has to go through alone. Lean on friends and family to help grieve.