Losing a loved one, particularly a long-term spouse or partner, is an incredibly challenging time.
There are often a lot of things to manage, and navigating the financial maze can be one of the more difficult aspects. But it doesn’t need to be.
There are steps you can take to ease this stress and ensure your financial security after losing a loved one.
Financial adviser support
It can help to talk to both your solicitor and financial adviser during this time, as they can assist in managing important tasks like locating and honouring your loved one’s will.
A First Financial adviser can also provide support, wisdom and sound advice when it is most needed. We can take on responsibility for coordinating your new financial situation and take some of that added burden away.
Our process focuses on supporting you and understanding your needs. We’re very aware that adjusting to a different future to the one you previously imagined is incredibly difficult and it doesn’t happen overnight. Which is why we work at a pace you’re comfortable with.
We take the time to really listen, understand and focus on you and your needs.
Understand financial entitlements
It can be difficult to know what assistance is available to you and to understand your financial entitlements.
One of the first steps you can take is to contact your loved one’s financial institution to notify them. If you share a joint bank account with your loved one, you can still operate the account, as long as you are a signatory to it.
You are likely to need to wait for probate (the courts confirming the validation of a will and the executor of the will has the authority to administer the estate) to access and close any bank accounts for which you were not signatory.
Handling the remainder of your loved one’s estate is the task of the executor. They are responsible for maintaining, disposing of or distributing the deceased’s assets in line with the will. Your financial adviser or solicitor can help you understand this process more clearly.
If you are concerned about your financial situation during this time and require some assistance, you may be eligible for government payments.
Centrelink has bereavement payments, which may be a lump sum or a short-term payment, that may ease your financial burden (if eligible). Visit Services Australia website for more information.
Alternatively, if your partner served in the Australian Defence Force and was receiving a pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), you may be eligible for a one-off, non-taxable payment. Find out more about bereavement assistance on the DVA website.
Is your will prepared?
Often, losing a spouse or partner can be a reminder to set your own financial affairs in order. Ensuring your own will is up to date is an important step and can help reduce the stress of distributing your estate when your family is in the midst of their grief. The effort you make now can bring peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are looked after. Plus, clearly documenting your wishes now will save your family a lot of added stress and potential conflict when they are grieving.
We recommend seeking professional guidance when you start estate planning, as it can be a complicated process.
Securing your future
Adjusting to a different future than you imagined can be one of the hardest aspects of losing a loved one, but it is important to consider the best financial options for your future. Allowing yourself enough time to grieve before making decisions is incredibly important, as is discussing your plans with family, friends and your financial adviser.
When you feel ready, the best place to start is to gain a clear idea of your new financial situation. This will give you a better idea of your options and can help you start securing your financial future.
Planning ahead is critical. But you don’t have to do it alone. And we won’t rush you.
We know which financial decisions you need to make now and which financial decisions can wait until you feel ready and able to focus on your financial future.
Our team can help
As with any major life events, we recommend seeking professional advice to ensure your financial security after losing a loved one. A specialist financial adviser will be able to provide you with the appropriate guidance and help find the ideal solution for you, when you’re ready.