Transitioning Through the Loss of a Loved One:Making the Right Financial Decisions
By Lucille Rosetti
Losing a spouse is both a time of mourning and a time of stress. As well as grieving the loss of their life partner, parent or loved one must also organize finances, settle the estate, and make decisions about their own end-of-life wishes. Here are a few ways you can help the senior in your life as they go through this painful transition time, and make smart decisions about their future.
When your loved one is grieving the loss of their spouse, you can assist them by offering to review their expenses. There are a number of immediate costs like paying for the funeral services and settling any debts such as credit cards or car payments. Help your loved one calculate these expenses, and make a plan for their short- and long-term spending so they can go through the transition period without the added stress of financial worry.
If your loved one has recently experienced the death of a spouse, they have a number of financial decisions to make. To make informed decisions, they’ll need to gather all the relevant paperwork, such as the will, a list of all properties, any insurance policies, and certificates such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, and death certificate. Help your loved one collect this paperwork, review their life insurance policy, and make decisions about settling the estate.
End-of-Life and Funeral Arrangements
In the wake of their spouse’s death, it’s likely your loved one will start contemplating their own end-of-life wishes and want to ease some of the stress for the family when that time comes. Encourage your loved one to make end-of-life arrangements, such a writing their will, deciding how they want to divide their assets, and planning for hospice or end-of-life care.
When helping your loved one plan their own end-of-life wishes, be sure to discuss funeral arrangements. A pre-paid funeral plan from a funeral home can ease the financial burden on the family and ensure that your loved one’s wishes about their funeral are carried out. Encourage your loved one to open a designated savings account or a POD account to cover funeral costs, or purchase a final expense insurance policy to cover the costs of the funeral.
Reviewing Healthcare Coverage
Not only do you want to help your loved ones plan for their end-of-life needs and their funeral, you also need to remind them of the importance of looking after their health and well-being for all the upcoming years of good health. Reviewing their Medicare coverage will give both of you a clear picture of what’s covered and what’s not, and together, you can decide if you need to increase coverage. If you all decide that changes are necessary, mark your calendars for the Medicare Annual Election Period, which starts on Oct. 15 and ends on Dec. 7. It’s the only time of year when changes can be made to one’s Medicare coverage.
As your loved one ages, they will access more health care services. A supplemental plan, such as a Medicare Advantage plan from Anthem, will include coverage for dental, vision, and hearing services, as well as prescription medications. Ensuring your loved one has the right coverage will make it easier for them to look after their health and well-being and enjoy the golden years of their life in great health.
When the beloved senior in your life is transitioning through the loss of a loved one, help them make the right financial decisions by reviewing short- and long-term expenses and collecting all the necessary documents. Encourage them to make end-of life arrangements, but remind them it’s important to live! Finding the right healthcare coverage will help them look after their health today, and access all the services they need.