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How to Help a Grieving Senior with Important Financial Decisions

Written by: Caroline James

An unfortunate passing of a loved one is a devastating event for the spouse of the deceased. Older family members in particular may require additional assistance with day-to-day tasks after losing a spouse. 

Inheriting the financial assets and responsibilities of another individual can be confusing and complicated, but you can take steps to assist your grieving loved one without being overbearing. With this in mind, The Family Heritage Trust Company offers guidance to help seniors navigate their finances after the death of a loved one.

Get Important Documents in Order

Before tackling any new financial decisions, it’s important to have all relevant documentation on hand and organized. Your senior loved one may need emotional support or practical assistance when sorting through a passed spouse’s belongings in search of vital paperwork. Key financial documents to keep track of include:

  • Bank statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Mortgage statements
  • Car titles
  • Social Security documentation

Your senior loved one will be more prepared for upcoming eventualities with these files close at hand. Consider discussing the idea of keeping these documents accessible to yourself or another trusted family member in case of emergency.

Request Access to Financial Accounts

If your loved one requires more involved assistance with handling financial matters, it may be a good idea to talk to him or her about giving you access to financial accounts. This requires Power of Attorney authorization or filling out special documentation with the financial institution in question. 

Before agreeing, your loved one should understand that this means you can withdraw money or conduct transactions from the accounts. If your loved one has a safe deposit box at a financial institution, he or she can opt to grant you access to that, as well. 

Take Care of Business Matters

If your loved one was involved in their own business affairs, it’s necessary to handle certain important matters. In terms of dissolving an LLC that was never used, for instance, consider the following:

  • Review the LLC Operating Agreement: Check if your LLC has an operating agreement in place. It may contain specific provisions on how to dissolve the company. Follow any guidelines mentioned in the agreement.
  • Inform Members: If you have other members or partners in the LLC, you should inform them of your intent to dissolve the company. Obtain their written consent or agreement to proceed with dissolution.
  • Comply with State Requirements: Research your state’s regulations regarding LLC dissolution. Each state may have different requirements, forms, and fees. You can typically find this information on your state’s Secretary of State website.
  • Pay Outstanding Debts and Taxes: Before dissolving the LLC, settle any outstanding debts, loans, or taxes owed by the company. This includes federal and state taxes, as well as any outstanding business obligations.

It’s essential to follow these and other steps carefully and consult with a legal or financial professional if you’re unsure about any aspect of the dissolution process. Additionally, consider seeking legal advice to ensure compliance with your state’s specific regulations and to protect yourself from potential liabilities associated with the dissolution of the unused LLC.

Involve the Rest of the Family

As you continue the process of assisting your elderly loved one during this time of mourning, involving the rest of the family can do a great deal of good. Soulistic Hospice notes that your grieving family member likely needs such a support system during a difficult time. You can also suggest various techniques for dealing with stress. These can be helpful to keep from becoming upset in difficult moments.

Keeping everyone in the loop is also a great way to stay on the same page and avoid confrontation about finances later on. It even sets the stage for a discussion on estate planning and drafting a will when your senior loved one feels ready to do so. Open conversation between family members can be a deterrent for fallouts over an inheritance.

Make a Memory Collage

A memory collage can offer profound benefits to grieving seniors as it provides a therapeutic outlet for them to honor and celebrate the life of their departed loved ones. Creating a collage featuring their favorite photographs with a customizable poster maker allows seniors to reminisce and reflect on cherished memories, fostering a sense of connection with their lost companions. Use ready-made poster templates and customize them as you wish. The process of selecting and arranging photographs, mementos, and keepsakes can be a healing and cathartic experience, allowing them to express their grief in a tangible and creative way. 

Furthermore, the finished collage serves as a tangible reminder of the legacy and impact of their loved ones, offering comfort and solace during moments of sadness. Ultimately, memory collages can help seniors navigate the grieving process by facilitating emotional expression, preserving precious memories, and promoting a sense of closure and acceptance.

Consider Selling the Home

Another topic to discuss with your senior loved one is the possibility of selling his or her house. Downsizing to a one-person home like a rental (there are over 120 apartments available in Frederick) helps generate some cash to pay for new expenses. Upside points out that relocating is also a great way to get a new start and clear out belongings that are unneeded or emotionally burdensome. Online home value tools can give you a quick estimate of what your loved one’s home could be worth. Consult a local realtor to get the best shot at selling a home for the best possible value. 

Helping a senior loved one with financial burdens requires much trust on the part of that person. If this trust has been established, you can be a great help in alleviating the stress that an older grieving family member feels when facing difficult financial decisions. There is a lot of red tape to navigate after the passing of a spouse, but your assistance can make the situation much more manageable for your loved one in a time of mourning.

Secure your future with confidence by entrusting your wealth management to The Family Heritage Trust Company. Visit our website today to explore our comprehensive trust and investment services tailored to your unique financial needs.