Managing Finances After a Death

2 minute read

Grief is a deeply emotional journey and there is no right or wrong way to experience it. Balancing grief while managing your financial affairs can be a challenging task. How do you manage your finances after the death of a loved one?

Having a plan ahead of time can ease some of the stress involved. Thinking ahead by creating an estate plan with key pieces of information helps to ensure that your loved one or the person handling the financial affairs is best prepared when the time comes.

If at all possible, ensure that you have access to and know where all important documents are. This can include the will (if there is one), copies of birth certificates, passports, and banking details. As technology is part of our everyday lives, it is also important to either know your loved one’s passwords, have a copy of their passwords, or are listed as a secondary backup user to your loved one’s accounts.

Make sure that everything remains updated. Continue to have conversations with your loved one and stay on top of up-to-date wills, passwords, and the location of all documents. Then, when the unfortunate time comes when they pass on, identifying and prioritizing any immediate financial obligations can help make the process smoother. Look for outstanding bills, mortgage or rent payments, and complete a list of your loved one’s assets and liabilities like bank accounts, investments, real estate, debts, and personal possessions. Then, contact your loved one’s financial institution and a lawyer.

It is important to notify the financial institution as soon as possible. Speak to a trusted financial expert to assist you and your family identify the documents needed when your loved one is gone. There are different steps between sole account owners and shared account owners, and whether or not there is a will.

If there is a will, a lawyer will carefully review it and any other legal documents. These can outline any expectations or duties involved in handling the final requests, and also will inform a financial institution where any money from their bank account may go, such as to beneficiaries, charities, or to pay any outstanding debts like mortgages, loans, or credit card bills.

Most of the time, a will ensures that your loved one’s estate is effectively managed after their death and their assets are distributed according to their last wishes. By knowing what they want done with their finances ahead of time is one less thing to worry about while you grieve.

Speak with a member of our Wealth and Investment Team to learn how we can shoulder some of the burden during this difficult time.

Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson, PFP®, CIM®, is a Wealth Regional Manager with Kindred Credit Union and a Qtrade Advisor Financial Planner. Tom has a wealth of experience helping people reach their financial goals, and he coaches Kindred’s Wealth and Investment Team. Tom holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Financial Economics.

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