5 Things to Prepare for Before Your Spouse Dies

1. Update Beneficiaries
Make sure all beneficiary designations are up to date and have you as the primary beneficiary. This is for items like life insurance, IRAs, 401ks, TOD (transfer on death) accounts, and annuities.

2. Know who is on the title
Verify the titling includes you a survivor so the account or real estate passes entirely to you when your spouse dies. These are usually JTWROS (joint tenants with right of survivorship) or TbE (tenancy by the entirety) accounts.

3. Revise the Will and Trust
Make sure your will or living trust is up to date and properly specifies who is supposed to get what. Old wills and trusts can have many outdated provisions that can snag you.

4. Specify locations
Be sure you know where the important documents (wills, trusts, life insurance policies, etc.) and stuff (coin collection, gold bars, treasure map) is, including any hidden safes or keys to safety deposit boxes.

5. Plan for post-death income
Do a survivor’s retirement income check! Often pensions, Social Security, and other income streams
change with the first death, and you want to make sure your affairs are arranged to keep enough income flowing to the surviving spouse.

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