Family and Friends

Managing Finances After the Death of a Spouse

How to Move Forward Financially

After the Shock

The death of a spouse can be a shock, even after a long illness. To find yourself suddenly without your "other half" is likely to be a drastic change affecting all aspects of your life — especially your finances. This is particularly true if your spouse provided the primary income. When you are more prepared to deal with the changes to your life, you may feel better about handling them.

Track Down Important Documents

If you already know where all your financial documents are -property deeds, insurance policies, military discharge papers, retirement and investment paperwork and loans-the first step may be a little smoother. Otherwise, you'll probably want to locate all the paperwork first, then put it in a safe place. You'll also need to have your marriage certificate and your spouse's birth certificate and Social Security card. When notifying your insurance company, financial institutions, creditors and Social Security of your spouse's death, you'll have to produce a certified copy of the death certificate, so you'll also need to have several copies of this on hand.

Take Time to Adjust Before You Act

For the first few months, you should consider refraining from making any major decisions regarding your finances. Your mental and emotional state will need some time to adjust to where you can think clearly. Then, if you don't already have service people in place, such as an attorney, financial planner and tax preparer, you'll probably be ready to start looking for professionals who can help you.

Learning How to Handle Daily Finances

Unless you're used to handling the household finances, budgeting income and expenses can be a good idea. You may find that you have to cut back on certain services, memberships and other discretionary expenses. Your financial planner can help you to calculate your net worth, which is the value of your assets minus your total debt. This information can help you to develop your spending and investment plans.

Planning for the Future

Now that you alone hold your family wealth, you will probably want to consider how you'll manage it for your heirs. Your advisor team of insurance agent, attorney, financial planner and tax preparer may be instrumental in helping you set up an estate plan that will provide for you now and for your heirs later. Your goals for the future, whether personal or financial, are smart to consider. Maybe you will want to take classes in personal finance and money management if you lack these skills. Depending on your situation, you might want to find a support group for people who have lost a spouse. This kind of group can be both a comfort and a resource as you move forward.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.


Investment and Insurance Products:

Are Not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured   Are Not Bank Guaranteed  May Lose Value 

© 2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc

equal housing logoSunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC

equal housing logoEqual Housing Lender. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc

SunTrust, SunTrust Mortgage, SunTrust PortfolioView, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, SunTrust Premier Program, AMC Pinnacle, AMC Premier, Access 3, Signature Advantage Brokerage, Custom Choice Loan and SunTrust SummitView are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Services provided by the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: Banking products and services are provided by SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. Trust and investment management services are provided by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company and SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited. Securities, brokerage accounts and insurance (including annuities) are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered by SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered adviser. GFO Advisory Services, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser that provides investment advisory services to a group of private investment funds and other non-investment advisory services to affiliates. Mortgage products and services are provided by SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.

SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. - NMLS #2915, 901 Semmes Avenue, Richmond, VA 23224, 1-800-634-7928. CA: licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB-989, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60601, 1-888-473-4858, MA: Mortgage Lender license #-ML-2915, NJ: Mortgage Banker License - New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker—NYS Department of Financial Services, and RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender.

"SunTrust Advisors" may be officers and/or associated persons of the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: SunTrust Bank, our commercial bank, which provides banking, trust and asset management services; SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, which is a member of FINRA and SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency, and which provides securities, annuities and life insurance products; SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser which provides Investment Advisory services.

SunTrust Private Wealth Management, International Wealth Management, Business Owner Specialty Group, Sports and Entertainment Group, and Legal and Medical Specialty Groups and GenSpring are marketing names used by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., and SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.

SunTrust Bank and its affiliates do not accept fiduciary responsibility for all banking and investment account types offered. Please consult with your SunTrust representative to determine whether SunTrust and its affiliates have agreed to accept fiduciary responsibility for your account(s) and if you have completed the documentation necessary to establish a fiduciary relationship with SunTrust Bank or an affiliate. Additional information regarding account types and important disclosures may be found at

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is the trade name for the corporate and investment banking services of SunTrust Banks, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC.