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The death of your spouse is a period of unimaginable grief. Unfortunately, there are many legal and financial obligations that will not wait.

Here is a checklist to help guide you through the most important tasks you need to complete:

  1. Don’t make any life-changing decisions.
  2. Request certified copies of the death certificate.
  3. Speak with your spouse’s employer.
  4. Call your spouse’s insurance company and file a claim.
  5. Probate your spouse’s estate.
  6. Gather the financial records.
  7. Switch over accounts and cancel credit cards.
  8. Contact government offices.
  9. Switch emergency contact information.

A checklist is a good way to help with the immediate tasks. However it’s recommended to have a financial plan to help with the larger issues, like planning for retirement or evaluating Social Security claiming strategies.