Neal Templin has made available for download his article, “How to Prepare Financially for the Death of a Spouse”, published in the Wall Street Journal. The abstract is as follows:
You’ve done everything to prepare for a financially secure retirement as a couple except one thing: What will the financial picture look like after one of you dies?
A lack of preparation can imperil the finances of the surviving spouse.
Consider how much income may be lost. If you’re collecting two Social Security checks in retirement, the smaller one effectively goes away after the first spouse dies. If one of you has a pension without survivorship rights, that, too, expires when you do.
Even though the income of the surviving spouse is usually lower, he or she is often hit with a higher tax bill. That is because the survivor will be filing as a single person instead of married filing jointly. High tax brackets kick in at lower income levels for single people.
“When that plan is disrupted by the tragic death of a spouse, there isn’t a lot you can do besides cut expenses or go back to work,” says Jennifer Murray, a financial adviser in Morristown, N.J., many of whose clients are widows.
Posted by Marin Larkin, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.