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Losing Your Spouse

Unexpectedly losing a spouse is one of the most stressful times in anyone's life. In this terribly difficult time, you feel like your security has disappeared in an instant. While you're still reeling from the emotional shock of suddenly losing your husband, the need to handle paperwork and to make decisions - some immediate, some long-term - mounts quickly. It's easier if you have help. As excruciating as it may feel, with help, you can get through this.

Turn to your family and friends for support and encouragement as well as for practical help such as setting up appointments, taking care of your children, making arrangements for your out-of-town family and guests, and ordering food, flowers and responding to condolences. You will have days, even weeks, that are so painful all you can do - all you need to do - is to grieve. But as you walk through the process of grieving, you will also find unexpected sources of strength and courage. As excruciating and overwhelming as it may feel, with help, you can and will get through this.

We know that the suddenness and the unexpectedness of losing your spouse makes the normally difficult process of planning a funeral and making financial decisions after a death much harder. is designed to help people overcome hurdles and fears related to managing and planning for their financial future. We want to help you make wise money decisions during this difficult time. We've divided this subject into two parts - (1) what types of decisions and financial issues you'll immediately face upon losing your spouse and (2) some of the financial dimensions of life events you'll face as you rebuild and go forward after losing your spouse.

In the following pages you'll notice that we use "widow". That's because women are more likely to outlive their husband. In fact AARP research shows that of the estimated 13 million widowed Americans, more than 11 million of them are women. What's more, 80 to 90 percent of all women have never handled their finances before. That means that the vast majority of women haven't had experience in handling their own finances yet they will need to manage money on their own at some point in their lives. Although the information in this site can be used by anyone, male or female, it's written to women as widows so as to avoid the confusion of continually referring to he/she or widow/widower.

We hope that this site provides you with a comprehensive overview of the types of decisions you'll need to make and how to make those choices to best preserve and honor your spouse's memory, as well as to provide for you and your family's future.