Financial help when a spouse dies: You can never really be fully prepared for the death of a spouse. Death and Dying brings a season of chaos where much of our time is consumed by medical appointments and providing medical care. Mundane tasks are on the back burner and in many ways, carers are in full survival mode until death has occurred.
It is at this point that reality sets in. Death is accompanied by an outpouring of grief and often guilty relief that the season has passed. A new reality sets.
No matter the situation, life continues to move forward. One must navigate loss and grief while still managing the funeral and the backlog of mundane things that have to be done. Bills must be paid and this requires money!
Money is not at the forefront of conversations when someone is dying. However, financial assistance and income support for the surviving spouse important conversation to have.
This is a question many partners do not think about in the midst of grief. It may feel like an unkind and cruel consideration, especially when a spouse is dying! But, here is some advice; Ask the question.
When a partner dies there is a problem with cash flow. Banking accounts are frozen as they are now part of the Estate.
This can be a short term or long term problem. However, this pause in funds does not pause debt! There are large immediate expenses such as funerals, medical bills and a backlog of unpaid bills that often builds up in the mayhem of dying.
It is at this point that spouses are overwhelmed, not only with grief but the sheer enormity of the administration that requires their attention.
Here are a few tips and suggestions for financial help when a spouse dies.
Life goes on after death, there is no need to be defensive about planning for it! This is a fact one must accept for fear of being left behind!
Conversations around pension payments, life insurance, costs of a funeral are crucial to ensure that the transition to life after death is as smooth as possible. It is not betrayal or weakness or unkind to accept this but rather an expression of love and trust.
Based on this trust, one shouldn’t wait to be asked about their plans but rather discuss solutions of what must be done after death. Discuss your fears and explore solutions together.
Dying is a verb – an action word. This means that there is much to be done in preparation for this. There is no rule that says you have to do it alone. There is no shame in asking for and receiving the financial help you need when a spouse dies.
Some helpful resources include seeing a financial planner, speaking to a lawyer, spiritual leader or doctor. Do not suffer in silence alone. These professionals are able to guide you in determining the best course of financial activities as well as any aid or lump sums you are eligible to receive.
Discussing your pain and grief to a professional may do a world of good, making the everyday tasks easier to accomplish. At Dying to Understand, we provide you with a community of resources to ensure you have all the help and information you need for financial help when a spouse dies.
As explained above, when a spouse dies, their assets can be “frozen” for an extended period of time. Until the estate is wound up, it is important to make financial provisions.
To ensure you have the necessary finances when your partner dies it is suggested to have shared bank accounts. Additional options include transferring assets to your account name, having shared pin numbers or set up a trust account that you have access to.
Financial support is often available to eligible people to assist with the adjustment required when a partner is lost.
You may be eligible to receive Bereavement Payment for up to 14 weeks after the death of your partner. This payment may be received instead of your usual income support payment. To be eligible to receive Bereavement Allowance, you must meet an income and assets test.
These financial decisions are often complicated to understand. Speaking to your lawyer or banker will help you determine the best option for you and your spouse.
Dying is expensive.
Trying to make ends meet is tough enough when a spouse dies. There is a myriad of expenses that must be paid. From medical bills and a loss of income to funeral costs and many other unexpected costs that suddenly appear.
It is important to try and make provision for these, so that one may not drown in an ocean of paperwork (such as applying for a death certificate) and debt. It is suggested to look at your budget and convert some fixed assets into readily available cash. This may include selling some shares (if you have), selling the second car, downsizing the house.
Always discuss these decisions with your partner, so you may both understand the best course of action in ensuring you have the necessary funds after their death.
Don’t be scared to ask if things are tough! No one likes to ask for help, but there is no harm in asking. Family and friends can be a great resource to help you stay organized, especially if they’ve been through a loss themselves.
People often contribute flowers to a funeral. However, if you are really struggling, there are a host of ways to set up “go fund me” type accounts where people may donate and contribute in leu of flowers. It may be the help you need to get over the dry and dusty part of this journey.
“There is no shame in asking for help; it is one the most courageous things you’ll ever do and will lead to greater connection with those around you.” -Laura Lane
Financial struggles only compound the stress and pain of dealing with the loss of a spouse.
There is no set handbook in getting financial help when a spouse dies. However, these are a few simple suggestions that may start the conversation. In the end, coming up with an overall plan will help you move forward both emotionally and financially!
Why not continue the conversation? Share your thoughts and suggestions, stories and experiences with us. We would love to hear from you.
If your partner or spouse is on the journey towards the end of their life, it is recommended to have discussions about financial help early. Talking about dying has never killed anyone!
It is better to have the peace of mind that you have the necessary means to continue with life after the death of your partner- as it will be a rollercoaster of emotions for a long time.
Don’t let death be a plane crash disaster- financial help when a spouse dies can land this plane, through any storm.
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