Navigating Life as a Widow


Navigating life as a widow presents unique challenges, requiring both emotional resilience and practicality. Our guide offers a thoughtful roadmap, providing insights on knowledge and resources to navigate this journey with grace and assurance.

Taking Care of Yourself 

Taking Care of Yourself 

  • Surround yourself with a strong support system (i.e. family & friends)
  • Join support groups for widows in your area
  • Stay active and involved in your social and recreational activities
Next Steps

Next Steps

As you embark on this new path, a crucial first step is heading to the county office to obtain at least 20 copies of your spouse's death certificate. This document becomes a cornerstone for many subsequent tasks.

You should have a great team of trusted professionals who can guide you through the necessary procedures, such as legal, financial, and grief professionals. This support network can help you navigate the complexities of your unique situation.

See below for the additional steps you should take when going thruogh this process. Though daunting, these steps will pave the way for a smoother journey ahead.

Survivor Benefits

Who Receives Benefits?

Who Receives Benefits?

Various family members may qualify for monthly benefits, including:

  • A surviving spouse age 60+ (age 50+, with a disability).
  • A surviving divorced spouse, under specific conditions. 
  • A surviving spouse at any age caring for the deceased's child (under 16, with a disability, or receiving child's benefits)
  • An unmarried child of the deceased who is: 
    • Younger than 18 (or up to 19 if a full-time student in an elementary or secondary school)
    • Age 18+ with a disability that began before age 22

Under certain circumstances, the following family members may be eligible:

  • A stepchild, grandchild, step grandchild or adopted child
  • Parents, age 62+, who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support
What happens if the deceased received monthly benefits after they passed away?

What happens if the deceased received monthly benefits after they passed away?

If the deceased received Social Security benefits, return the amount for the month of death and any later months.

  • For direct deposits, contact the bank to return funds for the month of death onward.
  • For checks, return them promptly and refrain from cashing any for the month of death or later.

Frequently Asked Questions:

"What Issues Should I Consider if my Spouse has been Diagnosed with a Terminal Illness?"

"What Issues Should I Consider if my Spouse has been Diagnosed with a Terminal Illness?"

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"What Issues Should I Consider if my Spouse Passes Away?

"What Issues Should I Consider if my Spouse Passes Away?

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"Should I Inherit my Deceased Spouses Traditional IRA?"

"Should I Inherit my Deceased Spouses Traditional IRA?"

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"Am I Eligible for Social Security Benefits as a Surviving Spouse?"

"Am I Eligible for Social Security Benefits as a Surviving Spouse?"

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"What Issues Should I Consider Before Closing the Estate?"

"What Issues Should I Consider Before Closing the Estate?"

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A Checklist for When a Spouse or Parent Passes

A Checklist for When a Spouse or Parent Passes

An overview of some fundamental steps when a loved one passes.
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Inheriting Debt from a Family Member

Inheriting Debt from a Family Member

Thinking about a loved one's outstanding debt is the last thing on anyone's mind when a family member passes away.
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Social Security: Maximizing Benefits

Social Security: Maximizing Benefits

There are other ways to maximize Social Security benefits, in addition to waiting to claim them.
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