Episode 71 – Financial Steps to Take After a Spouse Passes Away

Financial Steps to Take After a Spouse Passes Away by Astra Financial

This week’s podcast episode is all about the financial steps to take in the event your spouse dies. Are you prepared?

Have you thought through what will happen if your spouse passes away? Have you created a plan for how to move forward with your finances and pay off any debt?

It’s not always easy to talk about, but it’s important to have a plan for when something like this happens. And if you’re currently struggling with debt, it’s even more critical that you have a plan in place so that you don’t fall further into debt after losing someone close to you.

In this week’s episode, we’ll be talking about how to plan for the worst—and the steps you need to take and who you should speak to protect yourself from potential family strife later on down the road.

Show Notes:


Hey there, welcome back. This is episode 71. 

Today I’ll share with you a few things to do if a spouse passes away.  I wanna take a second to share a quick note here that part of the financial planning process with your advisor is the “what if” conversations. When I review financial plans with people, we talk together about what would happen if one of you were to pass away, or if you’re single, we talk about the same things.

The tax consequences for each of your assets, the will and power of attorney completed. And where is it? Is it accessible, health benefits, social benefits, and making joint accounts at the bank and with non-registered investments and so on. It’s important that the financial picture [is clear] if something were to happen.

So these conversations should have already been there. This shouldn’t be something that’s brand new to the thinking process. And it is part of the financial plan conversation. I suggest that a surviving spouse gather a support team and have them help with these steps. Delegate, have family members go through this and have some people that are the point of the team that will help get some stuff done.

So, first step after the will and estate documents are all found and organized in one place is to make sure that there’s enough cash flow coming in to cover the bills. Is there access to bank accounts and funds to cover expenses each month? Let’s just think for the next three, or four months, is there enough that’s gonna be in the bank and accessible.  Go to the bank and ensure this and that accounts will be in your name.

Second, is to take the death certificate and the will to the financial institutions and roll over investments into your own name and claim any personal insurance policies out there. If there’s an employer, then you will want to take the documents to your spouse’s employer for the pension to be settled and to also access the employer’s life insurance policy.

Most people have an insurance policy. They work for a big enough company that sometimes it’s a one-time salary, a two-time salary, but there will be a group life insurance policy. 

Next is Canada pension plan should be notified. And if your spouse is retired, don’t forget to cancel old age security as well.

It does not matter if your spouse was employed or retired. There are survivor benefits with the Canada pension plan that need to be applied for, you can do that. Lastly is updating your own will and power of attorney and your own beneficiaries. Your lawyer can also help change the land title to your name, for your home to be in your own name or any other properties that you have.

You will also be gathering mail for filing tax returns, including an estate tax return for your spouse. More important than remembering all of these things I just told you, is to just contact your financial planner. Our role is to take you step by step through this process. We’ll complete the paperwork for all the investments and rollover the insurance and be a resource and organizer for all of the rest.

We have a checklist. We help, even if it’s not at our institution, we’ll draft that letter for you. We can use the mail, we can use our faxes, you name it. 

We’re just there to help and guide you. If I can leave you with that one takeaway today, it is to utilize your financial planner, call them and let them guide you through the process.

That’s it. Until next week, take care.