Helping a Parent When Their Mate Dies: Financial Chores

by Lucille Rosetti, thebereaved.org

The best way of helping a parent when their mate dies is to assist with these important financial chores they likely won’t be up to doing alone, so they only have to focus on the most pressing decisions right away.

Losing a loved one is devastating, and for many people who suffer the death of a spouse, it can come with more than just grief. Worries about what the future holds, financial stress, and issues with substance abuse and depression are just a few of the things seniors face when their spouse passes away. Since many retired individuals live on a tight budget, money worries are often at the forefront, making it difficult to find peace during such a difficult time.

What are some ways you can help a parent after a mate dies?

If your senior loved one has recently lost their spouse or partner, there are several ways you can help make things a little easier. Making sure they focus only on the most pressing decisions right away will help relieve some stress, as will helping them get all their paperwork together so that everything stays organized. The time immediately following a death is often a hectic blur, and it’s easy to misplace important documents.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to help your loved one through this difficult time.

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Take care of the most important things first.

While the “most important things” may vary from person to person, usually it includes taking care of life insurance claims, paying any bills that are due at the moment, and arranging for the funeral costs. Help your loved one stay organized by keeping all the paperwork together in one easy-to-access spot, including copies of the deceased’s death certificate and any documents from the funeral home. You may also need to get several copies of the death certificate to send to various government agencies and creditors.

Talk about your loved one’s arrangements.

It’s not an easy talk to have – in fact, only about 27 percent of people have had “the conversation” with their family and friends — but it’s essential to have a sit-down with your loved one about their own end-of-life arrangements. Knowing what their wishes are when it comes to their estate and interment will give both of you peace of mind. Find out whether they have a will and where they want their final resting place to be, as well as whether they want to be cremated or buried. Knowing this information beforehand will make things a little easier during your time of grief.

Notify the appropriate agencies.

In some cases, your loved one may be eligible for a payout from the Social Security Administration or from a veterans organization, so help them do some research online to find out what they might be entitled to. You will likely need a copy of the death certificate and a Social Security number for the deceased, so have those things ready when the time comes.

Helping a senior loved one make important financial decisions can feel overwhelming if you don’t practice self-care, so remember to take some time out for your own needs. Get some rest, eat and stay hydrated, and practice a hobby or activity that helps you reduce stress.

Although it might seem awkward at first, it’s important to have “the conversation” about end-of-life arrangements. Doing so can give everyone peace of mind for what the future will hold.

Reviewed August 2019

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each week we feature financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

Debt ChecklistSubscribers get The After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist for FREE!

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Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

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