Four things to avoid after a spouse dies

The loss of a spouse is one of life’s most painful and stressful events, and there are financial land mines that a newly widowed person should be aware of and avoid:

1. Making rash financial decisions. Some financial tasks – paying bills, collecting on life insurance, identifying accounts – can’t wait, but most can. Many newly widowed people suddenly find themselves the target of investment pitches because of their vulnerability. Consider getting guidance from several other financial professionals before you make any financial commitments.

2. Decisions about your home. Making decisions about your home that have long-term consequences – such as paying off the mortgage right away or putting your home up for sale – should not be made too quickly, while emotions are still raw.

3. Lending money. If your deceased spouse’s estate was a large one, you may find yourself beset by requests from relatives for loans or cash. If this happens and you find it difficult for to decline such requests, enlist the help of an accountant or estate planning attorney.

4. Investing in memory of. The investment decisions your spouse used to make might not be the best ones for you now. Don’t make the mistake of trying to honor their memory by following advice that may be harmful to your financial best interests in the long term.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only four Treasure Coast attorneys who is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Elder Law. Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.