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Financial Strategies for Seniors Grieving the Loss of a Loved One

by Lucille Rosetti
Financial Strategies for Seniors Grieving the Loss of a Partner
In the midst of a personal and tragic loss, it can be difficult to find the motivation to do anything other than grieve. This is especially true for senior widows and widowers who had spent their entire lives with their partner. If you have an elderly family member or friend going through a difficult loss, you can provide more than emotional support. More specifically, many widowing seniors will need financial guidance through this time of mourning. Due to their age, medical needs, and dependency, seniors will need to handle their finances diligently after a spouse passes. Here are some financial strategies for seniors grieving the loss of their spouse.
Handle the cost of the funeral as soon as possible.
The funeral and burial are the first two financial burdens that have to be tackled after a senior loses a partner. This isn’t something that should be hanging over a widow or widower’s head for too long. Although it may seem like an insensitive subject to bring up during a time of grieving, it is something that needs to be handled rather promptly.
You should first check to see if the deceased individual had a prepaid funeral or funds set aside for the occasion. If there aren’t sufficient savings, you can guide your loved one to take a more affordable route, such as cremation or green burials. Life insurance policies and personal loans are other reliable alternatives for covering the cost of a funeral.
Consider modifying their living conditions to save money.
When a senior is left alone after the passing of a partner, their living conditions aren’t going to change automatically to accommodate the new situation. The widow or widower will be stuck with the same mortgage payments, estate taxes, and potentially high utility costs for an individual. With the consent and approval of your loved one, you may want to consider selling their home to greatly reduce their living expenses. The sale would also generate some cash that can be used to cover other costs, such as long-term care and medical bills.
Before you jump into the decision, take the time to make sure it’s the right move. It can be helpful to talk to a realtor for specifics when making this choice. Compare the value of the home to your loved one’s living expenses after the move. When you are ready to sell, some of the best strategies for making a successful sale include finding a good listing agent, staging the home, and having a professional photographer snap photos of the home for advertising. Don’t forget to set a competitive price by researching average list prices in your area.
Utilize all of the benefits offered through the Medicare system.
Every US citizen over the age of 65 has access to the Medicare system, which provides insurance coverage for medical expenses, such as routine doctor visits, prescriptions, and even surgeries. It’s always a good idea for seniors to take advantage of any and all benefits for which they’re eligible from the Medicare system. This is certainly the case for widows or widowers who find themselves in a stressful financial situation after the passing of a spouse.
With many moving parts and varying qualifications, it can be difficult for seniors to wrap their minds around how the Medicare system works. There’s also Medicaid to think about. You can always consult professionals and high-level resources on the topic in order to get a better idea of how your loved one can benefit financially and medically. After all, you don’t want a loved one to miss out on insurance coverage in such an emotional and financially stressful time.
Losing a lifelong partner can take a major emotional and physical toll on a senior. As a loved one, you’ll do everything in your power to help alleviate some of this pain. Even during this time of grieving, it’s important to not forget about the financial aspect of this difficult time. With the right strategies, it is possible to avoid an overly taxing financial burden.
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