Three Tips for Finalizing Your Spouse’s Finances
By Saghir Aslam
(The following information is provided solely to educate the Muslim community about investing and financial planning. It is hoped that the Ummah will benefit from this effort through greater financial empowerment, enabling the community to live in security and dignity and fulfill their religious and moral obligations towards charitable activities)
The death of a husband or wife can be an overwhelming experience, compounded by the financial matters you need to consider during this emotional time. Here are three tips to help you through the process.
- Seek help from trusted sources
Locating and understanding will and trust documents confirming who has authority over the estate should be a top priority following the death of a family member. So is commemorating their life. Ask your closest friend or relatives to help you research arrangements for the funeral and interment ceremony to help ease your stress.
You should also consult with your attorney, tax advisor, and financial advisor to discuss the documents, deadlines, and procedures necessary to finalize your spouse’s financial matters.
- Gather important documents
Even if you are not in charge of your spouse’s estate, you’ll probably have role in helping the executor designated to settle your loved one’s finances gather important personal documents( such as prenuptial and child support agreements). Your loved one’s most recent tax return can help you identify brokerage, dividend-yielding stocks, properties, or other assets your spouse held. Additionally, we suggest you to do following:
Order death certificates: The funeral home can help you obtain the copies you’ll need to file insurance and benefits claims, transferring assets, and closing bank and credit card accounts.
Locate your spouse’s will, if there is one: the will names a personal representative or executor, which can be an individual (such as family member or friend) or an institution (a bank, for example). The personal representative is reasonable for either filing the will in probate court or having an attorney do it, if the state requires.
Apply for a tax payer ID number: To avoid a potential IRS fine, the personal representative should apply for a taxpayer ID number for the estate using IRS from SS-4. The number should be used on tax returns, bank and brokerage statements, and other documents filed concerning the estate.
Notify social security if your spouse was receiving benefits: if you don’t stop benefit payments, you could face a difficult repayment process.
Deal with any retirement benefits and insurance policies: Contact your spouse’s current or former employee for information on life insurance policies, health insurance coverage, union death benefits, and pension plan and retirement plan benefits.
- Prioritize accounts requiring immediate attention
Take different action or work with executor of the estate to help ensure the proper handling of brokerage and other financial accounts. Additionally, it is important to monitor the deceased’s deposit and credit card accounts-in particular, look for automatic charges that you will need to stop. The executor can guide you in determining which financial obligations take priority.
Let me elaborate on financial adviser. As I have written before certificate alone is not enough. You need to check his knowledge of Investment in different fields. How much knowledge does he have in real estate then you need to check out. What type of real Estate, Residential Apartments, commercials Shopping centers? Ask questions in each field make sure you are satisfied. The field of investment is so wide so diverse take your time shop around to find the person with knowledge in diversified fields. As you can see real estate investment is further broken down.
Let me share with you for example a good adviser will share with you that it is better not to sell the real estate instead you exchange. This is Uncle Sam s gift to the investor. When you sell you must pay Uncle Sam his share, but good kind Uncle Sam give you the opportunity to exchange the property which has certain Rules and regulations and time frame which you must buy and sell. Very strict rules and you must follow. You want to find out from your adviser you are interviewing how much knowledge he has. I did not even mention about land which is again wide variety Baren land. Agriculture land New Land. New areas, developed land. Semi developed each one in it s own category. So what you are doing is food Uncle Sam let you defer the taxes, this means you have more money to work with, better cash flow.
When you come to stock market this is one huge field with many many different categories in my next article I will try to elaborate on some of the stock market investing.
(Saghir A. Aslam only explains strategies and formulas that he has been using. He is merely providing information, and NO ADVICE is given. Mr Aslam does not endorse or recommend any broker, brokerage firm, or any investment at all, nor does he suggest that anyone will earn a profit when or if they purchase stocks, bonds or any other investments. All stocks or investment vehicles mentioned are for illustrative purposes only. Mr Aslam is not an attorney, accountant, real estate broker, stockbroker, investment advisor, or certified financial planner. Mr Aslam does not have anything for sale.)