What To Do When a Spouse Dies

What to do when a spouse dies.

What should you do when your spouse dies? It’s an unfortunate fact of life for a third of all Americans 65 and over.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to spend several years in widowhood after the death of a spouse.

Although nothing can ease the burden of grief when a loved one dies, knowing what financial steps you and your family members should take can ease anxiety and fear about the future.

One thing is certain. The death of your spouse will be one of the most difficult times in your life.

If you feel overwhelmed, here’s a list of powerful resources to help you stay focused following one of the most devastating events in your life.

Don't make hasty financial decisions and take your time. Life does go on and often times tending to your financial affairs can be a much needed distraction.

Here's a checklist of what you should do if your spouse dies.

1. Collect the paperwork

The surviving spouse will need to gather records and documents to support claims for benefits.

In addition to the will and several certified copies of the death certificate (we recommend at least 10), you’ll need:

  • Insurance policy paperwork for any life, property, accident, and employer plans

  • Birth and marriage certificates

  • Social Security cards

  • Titles to any property.

If your deceased spouse was a veteran, military discharge papers may also be necessary. You’ll also need a list of assets and account numb