When your spouse passes away, you have a lot to deal with. Planning finances and reevaluating your estate is likely to be the last thing on your mind. While there are only a few things you need to take care of right away, you will need to eventually start working on more permanent plans for your finances and health in the future.
Dealing with the Estate Plan
Your spouse has created an estate plan, which means you’ll be encountering many people throughout the estate settlement process. The first person you’re likely to deal with is the executor. This person serves as your spouse’s personal representative for the estate. If you’re the executor – which is common in spousal situations – you’ll need to start by gathering your spouse’s estate plan. If you’re not sure where to go, ask an attorney for assistance.
The beneficiaries are those who inherit assets or property from the estate. These may include any children you and your spouse had, yourself or perhaps a charity. The estate plan outlines who inherits what, how much, etc. If you’re the executor you’ll need to follow these wishes listed in the will.
Trustees oversee a trust. They manage assets inside the trust and invest on behalf of the trust. You may be one of the trustees or a third party may be selected. If you were the co-trustee with your spouse or you’re the co-trustee with a professional organization, you will work in tandem with the other party.