Smart Tax Tips for Widows

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Friends of mine who are enduring the crucible of the loss of their spouses tell me that one of the hardest things, along with the grieving process, is the uncertainty surrounding finances. All the unknowns and unanswered questions about money matters get tangled up with the overwhelming sadness as the dark cloud blots out everything else.

One important coping strategy involves separating the issues into distinct “pockets” in your mind, to the extent possible. For the sadness and other debilitating emotions that come along with grieving the loss, one of the most helpful things is the sympathetic, listening ears of a trusted friend or advisor. Support groups can be found through your church, synagogue, or other place of worship, or you could even reach out to a group like Modern Widow’s Club, founded by Carolyn Moor, who found herself widowed in her 30s with two young children. Carolyn deeply understands the need for bereaved women to connect with each other.

As for the financial decisions, it’s essential to reach out to professional advisors – CPAs, investment planners, insurance professionals – for help with all the details that need to be attended to. In particular, a tax advisor will evaluate your options and devise a strategy, going forward.

Here are four important tax matters to discuss with a CPA or other tax advisor as you begin the adjustment to life without your partner: