Updating Your Estate Plan After The Death Of Your Spouse

After the death of your spouse, you are met with a seemingly unending list of things to do to close out his or her estate. At the same time, you must grieve your loved one, and figure out how to live life without your partner by your side. It is easy to understand why updating your own estate plan is probably pretty far down on your list of priorities. 

When you are ready and able to address your own estate plan, the Palmer & Slay team is here for you. We provide compassionate counsel to widows and widowers like you from across Rankin County and throughout the greater Jackson, MS area.

Unless your estate is quite large, and there are tax considerations at play, there are three main things that we will help you with:

  • Protecting yourself if you become incapacitated;
  • Retitling assets; and 
  • Assigning beneficiaries. 

Protecting Yourself If You Become Incapacitated  

When you and your spouse executed your estate plans you likely gave one another the power to make decisions for each other should one of you become incapacitated. You may even have used your power of attorney to make healthcare or financial decisions on your spouse’s behalf toward the end of his or her life, making you all too familiar with the weight of the responsibility and serious nature of the role. 

Now that your spouse has passed away, it is time to revise your power of attorney documents so they are up to date if you ever need to rely on them. You may have an adult child or sibling who can step into the role, or a family friend you rely on to help you during difficult times. The person or people you choose — you can pick different people to handle healthcare and financial decisions — are completely up to you. The most important thing is that you trust them, and they are willing and able to serve. 

Once your documents are updated, it is important that fresh copies are given to your primary care physician, and any financial institution you believe needs them. This will prevent any misunderstandings down the line. 

Retitling Assets 

The second big thing the Palmer & Slay team can help you with is retitling assets and updating other documents that show ownership. 

Any assets you and your spouse held jointly should be retitled so you are the sole name on the title. Every financial account should be updated to show you are in sole control of it. If you inherited anything from your spouse’s estate, like an IRA or other retirement account, you must now put it in your own name. 

Assigning Beneficiaries 

It is likely that you and your spouse listed each other as the beneficiary on any solely owned life insurance policy, retirement account, or bank account. Now that your spouse has passed on, you need to update the beneficiary designation on your accounts so they go to the appropriate party after your death. 

Preserving Your Wealth. Protecting Your Loved Ones. 

While updating your estate plan may not be at the top of your to-do list, it is important that you eventually make time to take care of these things. When you are ready, Palmer & Slay’s experienced team of estate planning professionals is here to guide you. Please contact us today to set up a meeting.