What Issues Should I Consider If My Spouse Passed Away? (2020)

Cash Flow Issues

Will your cash flow needs change?
Was your spouse receiving Social Security?
Did your spouse reach their Required Beginning Date, or were they taking RMD at the time of their death?
Was your spouse receiving a pension?

Estate Settlement Issues

Do any accounts require ownership of the account to be updated?
Did your spouse pass away without a will?
Do you have more assets than you need to maintain your lifestyle?
Will your spouse’s estate exceed $11,580,000 or will your combined estate exceed $23,160,000?
If there is an estate tax liability, do you expect the value of the assets to decline over the next six months?
Could there be property and assets not yet identified?
Do you need to update your own estate plan?
Are there digital assets that should be preserved?

Insurance Issues

Was your spouse employed at time of death?
Was your spouse a veteran?
Was the death accidental or work related?
Did you and your spouse have a child under age 18 or a child permanently disabled?
Could there be any life insurance owned by your spouse that has not been identified or claimed?

Tax Issues

Did you and your spouse own your home?
Did you own property jointly with your deceased spouse?
Have all your spouse’s prior taxes been paid (not including any estate taxes)?
Did you file as Married Filing Jointly?
Do you have a dependent child?

Investment & Asset Issues

Does your spouse have stock options, grants, or restricted stock units (RSUs)?
Has the change in circumstances altered your investment objectives or risk tolerance?
If your spouse was a business owner, does a plan need to be developed to transfer/sell the business?
If you or your spouse have annuities or other illiquid assets, do they need to be reviewed to understand options?

Other Issues

Do you need to reduce the threat of identity theft?
Are there any state specific issues that should be considered (including out-of-state property or estate tax liability)?