They say that there are only two things certain: death and taxes. So it’s inevitable that at some point, one spouse in a marriage will find themselves “suddenly single.” Most people try to avoid thinking about the death of their spouse. But that often means that when it occurs, the spouse left behind is unprepared. Statistics show that men typically pre-decease their wives. Most couples have a division of labor, and traditionally that has involved leaving investment decisions to the husband and the care of the home and children to the wife. What was once a team, where each member had their own role, the surviving spouse now has to do it all. The survivor has lots of decisions to make. These often begin before death and may involve the health care determinations for a spouse unable to make them on his or her own.
Funeral decisions come next. In many cases arrangements have been made ahead of time, but there are still details that have to be made unless the deceased has left detailed instructions. Do we know the names of all the friends or acquaintances of the deceased who should be notified?
After the funeral, the survivor is faced with a host of financial issues. Assuming the surviving spouse is a widow she is often left with many vital but unanswered questions.
Over the last quarter century I have been asked to help many people who have lost a spouse. In many cases the grieving spouse did not know the answers to many of the previous questions which caused a great deal of additional anxiety. It does not have to be that way.
I was inspired by my experience with the couples I advised and the widows who came to me after their husbands passed. It also occurred to me that I was not immortal so I wrote “Before I Go” and the accompanying workbook in part for my wife. “Before I Go” is designed to answer all the questions that she would have when I’m no longer here. I think it allows her to “Finish Stronger.”
Arie J. Korving, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, has been delivering customized wealth management solutions to his clients for more than three decades. Prior to co-founding Korving & Company, he was First Vice President with UBS Wealth Management and held management positions with General Electric.