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March 10, 2021

Widowed: Dealing with grief and decisions


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There are few things in life more challenging than being bereft of your spouse, and in any given year in Ireland there are an average of 190,000 widowed persons with women making up the majority of those bereaved.

Decisions that widowed spouses face

While coming to terms with this life-altering reality and the blur of well-meaning faces around you seeking to console and support you at such a vulnerable time, you are also forced to cope with major life decisions that in many instances you may never had any dealings with.

When a spouse passes away, in some cases they will have held a number of pensions with various employers over their lifetime. They often have more than one bank account, in a few cases a second home, investments, company shares, life assurance policies, and unfortunately debts that may have accrued, large or small.

Questions widowed spouses often ask

Many married couples have a life cover policy in place, but upon receipt of a Life cover policy payment what is the best use of this sum? This and many more questions need to be addressed, but in what order, when and why? When a spouse becomes widowed it can be common to quickly seek to ‘tie up all loose ends’ which can sometimes result in ill-timed disposals of many assets, the non-claiming of assets or the misdirection of assets. The following are just a selection of questions you may be asking yourself with good reason:

1. Should I encash those company shares and pay Capital gains tax on the profit or could this be dealt with another way?

2. Can I receive the company pension now? Should I if I can? Is there more than one pension? How would I find out?  

3. Are the proceeds taxable or do I have the option to transfer the pension to my existing pension?

4. Do I really need three bank accounts and in what instances would that be advantageous?

5. Should I sell the second home? In what scenario’s should I keep it?

6. What are the debts outstanding and to whom? Am I liable to pay these?

7. How should I allocate these various proceeds with due consideration for myself and my needs as I age and the possible needs of the children and even my parents?

How we can assist you

This short list of questions is by no means exhaustive but serves as a short guide to questions you may be pondering and will naturally personally want to know more about. At Aspire Wealth Management we have had the privilege over the years of being able to assist bereaved spouses in navigating this myriad of diverging financial obligations by carefully planning alongside clients their present and future needs based on sound financial planning fundamentals only and with a bigger picture approach underpinning our advice.

If you would like to chat, we are here to listen.

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