A Helpful Checklist for Recent Widows
- Educate yourself on personal finance and investing.
- Find a financial professional if you don’t already have one.
- Don’t make any major financial decisions right away, such as selling your home. Put money from life insurance into a bank CD or money market account until you’ve investigated other investment options.
- Be sure you’ve applied for and collected all of the money you are entitled to, such as individual and employer-sponsored life insurance, Social Security survivor benefits, veteran’s benefits, and your husband’s 401(k).
- Transfer individual IRA and other investment accounts into your name (check with a tax advisor first).
- Create both an emergency and long-term budget.
- Define and prioritize your short- and long-term financial goals.
- See where your money is going and calculate how much of your income you can put aside to help reach your financial goals.
- Make sure you and your dependents have health insurance. If you were on your spouse's medical plan, call his employer and ask about continuing coverage under COBRA.
- If you have dependent children, be certain you have enough life and disability insurance.
- If you're still working, continue contributing as much as you can to your retirement plan.
- Revise your will, powers of attorney, health care proxy, and living will.
- Change the beneficiaries on investment accounts, retirement plans, and life insurance.