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What to Ask When Helping a Widowed Senior Sort Through Finances

Questions to ask a widowed senior when helping with their finances

Losing a spouse can be devastating for anyone, but it can be especially traumatic for seniors. In addition to losing a partner, widowed seniors may also end up losing a spouse who handled the couple’s financial matters.

If you have a senior loved one who is mourning the death of their spouse, you may need to provide some help with those financial matters, in addition to providing emotional support throughout the grieving process. Contenza Properties has a few suggestions.

Should Your Senior Loved One Sell Their Home?

If your loved one owns a home, selling it could provide some additional financial stability during this already stressful time. Many seniors may also decide to downsize their homes after losing a spouse to reduce maintenance costs and responsibilities.

You can use a home sale calculator to get a ballpark figure to determine whether selling the home will result in enough profit to cover expenses. Still, you may also want to speak with a professional home buyer like Contenza Properties.

Online tools can provide a good estimate of your home’s worth and how much profit can be expected, but other market factors should also be considered before listing the home.

For example, if your loved one’s home is older and requires substantial updates, that could impact the amount buyers are willing to pay for the property.

Will Your Senior Family Member Require Long-Term Care?

If your loved one doesn't want to or can't live completely on their own, it may be the right time for them to move to assisted or independent living.

To learn more about skilled nursing home facilities in San Francisco, check out this info.

Long-term care expenses can present an overwhelming burden as Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care, so selling a home and making a profit can be a huge source of relief if your loved one will require care in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Hiring in-home care can be equally expensive, but if your loved one wishes to remain at home and receive help with daily activities, know that there are other financial options for leveraging their home.

Reverse mortgages can free up extra cash for long-term care expenses, especially for seniors who do not want to make monthly payments.

With a reverse mortgage, your loved one can remain in the home, and the balance will only be due if they sell the home, move out, or pass away.

Remember that reverse mortgages may not be right for every senior, so, as U.S. News & World Report notes, you may want to look for other ways to finance long-term care, including VA benefits, insurance, and personal savings.

If aging in place is the strategy, a trusted fiduciary resource can provide resources for navigating through the financial considerations, such as being assured that the bills get paid, that insurance is renewed, and that your loved one is getting the services they’re paying for.

Look for a fiduciary that provides services including accounting, bookkeeping, and asset valuation and tracking.

Did Your Late Senior Family Member Have Life Insurance?

Figuring out funeral costs can pose another financial burden for widowed seniors. When all is said and done, Dignity Memorial notes that seniors can end up paying $10,000 or more for memorial and burial services for their dearly departed loved ones. Still, you can help lower these costs by encouraging your senior relative to choose more economical services.

The Nest notes that this can be extremely important if your loved one’s spouse did not have enough life insurance to cover funeral costs because either you or your loved one could end up footing the bill.

If the late senior had any leftover debts or bills, any life insurance proceeds might also end up going to creditors before they can be applied to funeral expenses. So, sit down with your loved one and go over any applicable life insurance policies.

If you see no evidence of life insurance, know that there may be other ways to offset funeral costs and help with remaining debts. For instance, if your loved one’s spouse was a military veteran, you may be able to access burial benefits to help with some final expenses.

The death of a spouse can leave seniors feeling lost, especially when it comes to finances, which is where you can step in if possible. And if you're feeling overwhelmed by handling the finances yourself, let a trustworthy professional manage them for you and your loved one.


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