Widows Well - The First Step
Within the First Month
Gather all documents and keep in a binder for easy access.
Will or Trust Documents
Husband’s Birth Certificate
Husband’s Death Certificate from funeral home or county of residence
Husband and Widow’s Social Security numbers, for benefits (ssa.gov)
Retirement accounts from husband’s employer
Bank and brokerage statements
Insurance policies-life, home, auto, disability, long-term care, mortgage insurance. If no Life Insurance Policy found
check: The American Council of Life Insurance gives hints on how to check for policies (acli.com)
Veteran’s Administration documentation– Department of Veteran’s Affairs (va.gov)
People To Contact
Attorney – should be the first one you contact for legal advice on estate plan
Financial planner/accountant – for personal income tax return and estate tax return, if needed
Insurance agent – for life insurance proceeds
Husband’s employer and past employer – for possible survivor’s benefits
County of residence – for information regarding lodging the will
Contact applicable agencies to terminate husband’s disability, social security, or veteran’s benefits, if any
Set up a temporary budget to keep track of income and expenses
Obtain a copy of your credit report
Set up a filing system to keep track of all paperwork.
Consider using colored file folders to keep records together.
Accounting tax related (Red)
Banking statements (Blue)
Financial Investments statements (Green)
Government social security, VA benefits (Orange)
Insurance life, home, auto (White)
Legal estate documents (Black)
Medical information (Yellow)
- Keep a list of tasks completed, in process, and yet to do
Don’t make major financial decisions the first year!
Keep a notebook near the phone to keep track of calls about the estate.
Click to download a PDF of the “Documents Needed” Form.