No one likes to think about the end of his or her life. However, in the event you do pass, your spouse will be left with your finances. Effect planning can ensure your surviving spouse doesn’t financially struggle if you pass. The below preparations will ensure your spouse is taken care of in the event of your death.


Provide your spouse with a comprehensive list of every account that holds any of your assets. You should also include a description of the account and any instructions for handling the asset. This list should include credit cards with and without balances, debit cards, bank accounts, and any other financial accounts. Don’t forget any gym memberships, magazine subscription, or any other media subscription that your spouse will need to discontinue. Be sure to include passwords to access information regarding these accounts as well. Beyond financial accounts, include a list of all organizational or charities of which you are a member.


You likely have many assets beyond a house and a car. Make sure your spouse has a list of all of your assets. Be sure to describe the asset in detail so your spouse knows how to handle it after your die (do this in your will also). Do a physical inventory of any assets valued over $100 and update the list as often as necessary. Send a copy to your estate administrator and give one to your spouse to keep in a safety deposit box. Examples of assets to note include the real estate, large appliances, jewelry, collectibles, vehicles, valuable technology, and so on.

Survivor Benefits for Pension Plans

A survivor benefit is a benefit that is paid by a pension plan to the designated beneficiary of an employee (usually a spouse) upon the death of the employee. You should elect into survivor benefits to ensure your spouse retains interest in your pension upon your death. Federal law states that your spouse will receive survivor benefits unless both of you opt out of this benefit. This means that should you die before your spouse does, he/she will continue to receive benefits from your pension. Be sure to double check with your pension manager.

Life Insurance

Are your assets enough to support your spouse should you pass? If not, you might consider taking out a life insurance policy. Life insurance can help your spouse settle your debts, pay for funeral expenses, and support him/herself financially. Be sure to give the account information and the contact information for your financial advisor to your spouse. Life insurance can be an inexpensive way to provide for your spouse after death.

Create a Will and Contact a Lawyer

Everyone over the age of 18 should have a valid will. Without it, your assets will be assigned to heirs by the probate court via intestacy law. For example, in Washington, if you die and have a spouse and parents, your spouse gets ¾ of your separate property and your parents get ¼. An experienced lawyer can help you draft a valid will to make sure your assets are handled properly. Dealing with the loss of a spouse is an emotional struggle. Make sure your spouse isn’t left in a financially difficult situation should you pass. For reliable advice, contact Dan Kellogg to help you make a sound plan for your spouse. Call 425-227-8700 to make an appointment for a consultation today.