May 31, 2018 | Posted in:

The Future is Uncertain – Are You Prepared in Event of a Loss?

As you have heard, the only certainties in life are “death and taxes.” Prudent couples plan for the future, including the reality of death, even when both partners expect to live for decades.

Someone who loses a spouse, especially one whose death was not expected, may struggle with unfamiliar financial and legal matters. Dealing with emotions while trying to sort out investments, loans and insurance policies can make the process immeasurably more stressful. Establishing a plan before the death of a spouse can reduce anxiety and ensure assets are protected and bills continue to be paid.

At a minimum, your plan should include four elements:

  1. Location of key documents.

    Know where to find wills, marriage certificates, life insurance policies, property deeds, car titles and bank account details. Consider scanning the main pages of these documents and storing them on a flash drive that’s kept at the home of a family member. The surviving spouse will need these documents to claim insurance benefits, pay bills and distribute assets.

Recommended Resource:

Alloy Silverstein Financial Service’s Personal Financial Organizer [PDF]

  1. List of passwords.

    Without appropriate passwords and user identification, spouses may not have access to key online accounts. Consider listing all passwords in a spreadsheet that’s password-protected. Share the password to this single spreadsheet with your spouse and at least one trusted family member.

  2. Net worth and budget statements.

    A net worth statement is a snapshot of your assets and liabilities, including property, credit cards and mortgages. A budget statement lists regular income sources and bills to be paid each month or quarter, including utilities, taxes, insurance premiums and loan payments. If kept current, these two basic documents should enable the surviving spouse to manage ongoing household finances.

“Many small business accounting software programs are also useful for non-business record keeping and facilitating the budget process and net worth presentation,” says Rich Middleton, CPA. Talk with your accountant for additional recommendations or if you need help with the software capabilities.

  1. List of trusted professionals.

    The surviving spouse should know the contacts for legal and financial advice, including the family accountant, insurance agent and lawyer. If your spouse was employed at the time of death, a human resources contact should be listed as well.


These items will help you start your plan. Every family is different, so customize your plan and list of items to best fit your situation. Contact Alloy Silverstein for additional guidance.
The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature and should not be acted upon in your specific situation without further details and/or professional assistance. For more information or for assistance with any of your tax or business concerns, contact our office at 856.667.4100.


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