Are you now a Widow? These are the financial contacts you should make.

Few times in our lives are more devastating than the death of a loved one. As you feel your own life pausing as you grieve your loss, these pointers will help take care of your finances and those of your loved one:

  • Contact your attorney, Accountant, and Financial Planner if any. They will know any unique issues that might exist with your finances. Trendline stands ready to assist you with any financial matter, no matter how small so that you don’t add more stress. Click for more
  • Get at least 10 certified copies of your husband’s death certificate from your local health department. The funeral home may do this for you if asked. You will need these to present to banks and other financial institutions as you request assets be put in your name or withdraw funds. The Companies will keep them for their records.
  • Call your husband’s former employer and ask for the Human Resources Department and Benefits Department, if separate. If you know one your husband’s work associates they will probably be willing to help finding the correct contacts.  When speaking with the HR/Benefit Administrator, you will want to ask about any accrued but unpaid salary, sick leave and vacation days, com- missions (if applicable), 401(k) accounts, pension benefits,  and life insurance that your husband would have been entitled to receive. Also, what benefits are you eligible to continue to receive i.e. health benefits?
  • If your husband had a life insurance policy, call the company that issued the policy. You do not have to withdraw the money until you are mentally able to decide where to put the money.
  • Contact your bank, Stock Broker, Mutual Fund Company, or any other financial institution where you have accounts to change those accounts to your name.
  • Call the Social Security Administration (800-772-1213) or log on to to notify them of your husband’s death. You will receive his payments or your own – whichever is the greater amount – if you have reached 62. You will also receive a one-time $255 death benefit.
  • Call the Motor Vehicle Administration to cancel your husband’s license and arrange to have the titles on any vehicle to your name.
  • Call credit card companies, mortgage lenders and others regarding debts you held jointly with your husband. They may also have a record of any payment protection plan that might have been signed.
  • If your husband was a veteran, contact the U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs (800-827-1000). You may be entitled to some benefits.

Peter B. Owen has been in the Financial Services industry for over 30 years representing Bankers Trust Company and then JPMorgan Chase Bank as Trustee of Fortune 500 corporate pension and 401k plans. Peter retired from JPMorgan in 2008 and started Trendline Financial Solutions, a personal Financial Planning Practice on Long Island. For more information, click on or email


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