Asset Management California

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Asset Management Advice for Widows in California, PART 3

Learn which tasks can wait and which must be done right away when becoming a widow, to avoid making costly mistakes.
PART 1: Introduction
PART 2: To Do Right Away

To Do Later On

You have nine months after your husband’s death to file estate taxes. It’s probably a good idea to hire an estate lawyer before moving any of your spouse’s assets to your name, as estate tax laws are some of the most complicated within tax code. You may decide to disclaim some of the property and pass it on to your heirs in order to lower your estate tax bill when you die. Your husband’s will should name an executor of his estate, who will be in charge of administering his wishes and passing assets to their proper beneficiaries.

Asset Management Advice for Widows in California: IRAs

If you’ve inherited an IRA from your husband, decide whether to roll it over into a new IRA, begin taking distributions or cash it out. The benefit of rolling it over is that you will still be able to make tax-free contributions to it, even after your husband would have had to begin taking required minimum distributions. You could even potentially pass it down, untouched, to your children.

However, if you’d like to access the money right away, you can begin taking distributions without paying taxes and penalties as soon as your husband would have turned 70 ½. If he was already taking distributions at the time of his death and you decide to continue taking them, make sure you take a distribution in the year that he died, if he hadn’t already.

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Asset Management Advice for Widows in California: Finances

Your finances need to be kept in order going forward, and you need to feel comfortable taking charge now that you can’t rely on your husband. This means you may have to develop a new organizational system to keep track of bills and other paperwork. Examine your investments and decide if you should make changes based on your new financial needs. You may also need to consider a lifestyle change, such as downsizing your home or moving closer to family.

Asset Management Advice for Widows in California

Next, focus on closing your husband’s accounts and changing all property titles to your name only. Look at bank and brokerage accounts, your house and cars, and any other major assets that may still have your husband’s name attached to them. When your husband’s estate is closed and your life has settled, take some time to review your own estate plan. Make sure your husband is no longer listed as a beneficiary, executor or power of attorney. Update your will, health care directive and any trusts to reflect your new situation. Finally, cancel any memberships or subscriptions in your husband’s name and see if you can receive partial refunds.

Asset Management Advice for Widows in California: Take Your Time!

Moving too quickly on financial matters following a sudden loss can lead to harsh financial consequences, and, unfortunately, many widows make this mistake. Beware of financial salespersons who pressure you to make big decisions too soon and kids who are seeking an advance on their inheritance.

It’s important to do what’s best for you during this difficult time, which often means doing nothing right away. While your husband’s passing is not the ideal time to learn about household finances, you’ll be better off when you’re in control of your own future and able to make informed decisions about your money throughout the next phase of your life.

Let’s Get Connected!
If you want to get started on your journey today or would like individualized investment/financial advice from LPL financial advisor, John Lohrenz, please contact JKL Wealth Management at:

Phone: (858) 535-1705
Fax: (858) 535-1701
Email: john.lohrenz@lpl.com

Alternatively, fill out the Contact Form and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Physical Address
731 S. Hwy 101, Suite 2K, Solana Beach CA 92075

Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.


About California, United States

California– boasting a large population of about 38 million residents – is a western coastal state in the United States. When it comes to America’s crowded poll statistical regions, California has the second and fifth most crowded regions within it. This state is very geographically diverse as it has mountain ranges, desert areas and the ocean to boot.

The Golden State belongs to the Neartic ecozone. Due to its mountains, desert and ocean, it can be said that California has four seasons in one day. Although most of the area possesses a Mediterranean climate featuring dry hot summers and cool winters, farther inland residents experience hotter summers and colder winters. Residents on the northern side of California experience higher yearly rainfall than other parts in the state.