"The loss of a spouse is never easy, whether you had time to say goodbye or it was unexpected."
Many folks take on estate and financial planning in a piecemeal manner. It's something they visit every now and then. Maybe they speak with an estate planning attorney every ten or twenty years. Those visits should be much more frequent.
The Middletown Transcript warns in "Game-changing life transitions that need attention" that sudden transitions need to be addressed immediately. However, many times these events will have more complex consequences impacting other parts of your life. Don't stick your head in the sand when such an issue comes up. Deal with it in the context of your overall life.
Some of the major transitions that impact us are retirement, the sale of a business, divorce, the disability of an adult child, the loss of a business or life partner, and perhaps an inheritance. While some of these are negative and some are good, each one necessitates a thorough review of your entire financial situation—including your estate plan.
If you come into an inheritance, you should assess its impact. Research whether there are any financial or estate planning opportunities that might mitigate the cost or tax burden within the estate.
If your spouse has no estate plan, it may be a rather large headache. It can be exceptionally painful to suffer through an extended and possibly contested period of settling the estate. Even if your spouse had a plan, this transition may necessitate some revisions to your own plan or changes to your beneficiary designations.
When there's a divorce, the majority of the time is spent dealing with the financial settlement of marital assets, child custody, and any future division of earnings. However, a lot of divorce attorneys don't help you with the tax issues and other financial matters that come into play beyond the negotiation of the settlement agreement. You need to take a look at your entire financial picture.
Remember that transitions in general will mean a thorough examination of everything.