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Wealth Management Advice for Widows in California, PART 2
Learn which tasks can wait and which must be done right away when becoming a widow, to avoid making costly mistakes.
To Do Right Away
The first thing to keep in mind is to not make any unnecessarily drastic decisions right away. Wait six months or a year before selling your house, buying an annuity or making other irreversible decisions. However, some things should be done immediately, and your support system can help you with these tasks.
Wealth Management Advice for Widows in California: First Order of Business
Gather together the necessary documents. You’ll need to obtain several copies of your husband’s death certificate to use when closing accounts, retitling assets and collecting insurance benefits. You can get these from the funeral home or your local department of health. Other documents to gather include:
- Will and trusts
- Insurance policies
- Marriage license
- Financial statements for any IRAs, bank accounts, brokerage accounts or company-sponsored retirement plans
- Military discharge papers
Wealth Management Advice for Widows in California: Assess
It’s important that you assess your financial situation early on to determine if you have enough liquid cash to live on. Besides going through your budget and staying on top of bills that may be coming due, seek out any death benefits you may be entitled to.
Claiming a life insurance benefit usually only requires that you call the insurance company and provide a death certificate. If you don’t know where your policy is held or if you can’t find any documentation, search through your bank statements and checkbook register for bills paid, or contact your husband’s current or previous employer to find out if he participated in an employer-sponsored plan. You can also recover life insurance benefits from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website.
Wealth Management Advice for Widows in California: Benefits
You may be entitled to death benefits from your husband’s long-term care, disability or homeowner’s insurance policy. If your husband was a veteran, he may be eligible for a VA benefit as well. And if your husband was still working at the time of his death, contact his employer for information on unpaid salary and bonuses, including accrued vacation and sick pay. You should also inquire about your family’s health benefit if you had been using his employer’s plan, because you may be eligible for COBRA coverage.
Wealth Management Advice for Widows in California: Social Security
Finally, make sure you’re receiving the Social Security benefit you’re entitled to. If you reached full retirement age before your husband’s death, you are entitled to 100 percent of your husband’s benefit. You can collect early, but your benefit will be permanently decreased if you do. Additionally, if you are caring for a child under the age of 16, you may be entitled to a survivor’s benefit, equal to a percentage of your husband’s benefit amount.
To Do Later On: Wealth Management Advice for Widows in California
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
Alternatively, fill out the Contact Form and we’ll get back to you shortly.
731 S. Hwy 101, Suite 2K, Solana Beach CA 92075
About California, United States
California – the third largest state in America by area – is made up of Coastal California, Central Valley, Northern California and Eastern and Southern California. A moderate climate is evident in northwestern California, while the Central Valley boasts a Mediterranean climate with extreme heat or extreme cold. The high mountain ranges and surrounding areas are known to possess an alpine climate where snow appears in the winter months.
With some of the largest, tallest and oldest trees in all of America, along with a diverse range of plant life and green hills, California is a beautifully scenic state. Also known as “The Golden State,” California has six biological zones in total, which include the Arctic zone, lower Sonoran, Hudsonian zone, upper Sonoran, the transition and the Canadian zone.