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What do I do after my spouse passes?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | Estate Planning

We know that losing a partner in life is devastating. There is just no way around it. But, if we plan for this eventuality now, couples can avoid increasing the amount of emotional turmoil when this happens. After all, it is highly unlikely we will both die at the same time, so one spouse will probably outlive the other.

Plan for it now

Of course, there are things the surviving spouse will need to do after their spouse dies, but the first thing to do now is create an estate plan. Make sure one’s will, trust and other estate planning documents are finished. This will make the grieving process much easier.


After speaking with one’s estate planning attorney and getting the estate planning documents. The next step after the death of a spouse is notifying entities of the spouse’s death. The first call is usually to the employer to start the process of getting spousal benefits and to transfer the retirement accounts. This also includes all the accounts that have payable on death clauses, including brokerage and other financial accounts, along with insurance. Moreover, do not forget to contact the Social Security Administration because spousal benefits are likely owed at some point, whether now or in the future.

Credit bureaus

Do not forget to contact the credit bureaus as well to lock the spouse’s credit. Stealing a deceased person’s identity is common, and for those whose credit and life are connected to that person, the theft of that identity could have real consequences.

Make a bill plan

Just because one’s whole world has just disappeared does not mean that the bills stop. In the estate planning documents, there should be a list of bills. Utilize that list to make sure all the outstanding bills are paid, and that those bills which are no longer needed get canceled. Do not forget to make sure that both spouses are authorized users. If there is anything that our Richmond, Virginia, readers can take from this post, it is that planning now will save a mountain of heartache after our spouse passes.