Scenario-Sarah, 55 year old widow

It is shocking to learn that widows are one of the fastest-growing segments of the population and half of all wives are widowed before age 60. Learn how Peterson Wealth Services can help with this case study.

Sarah suddenly lost her husband in a tragic car accident. Her husband was the breadwinner and managed all financial affairs. Sarah is a homemaker and mother of 2. She has been out of the workforce for 15 years. Children are 31 and 34 years old.
First Step:

  • Review our checklist required actions and important items to consider with Sarah
  • Create a net worth statement that includes all assets and liabilities for a clear picture of her current financial situation
  • Develop Sarah’s household budget to project spending needs and also extra wants and wishes

Next Steps:

  • Help Sarah set and prioritize her goals.
  • Begin consolidating financial assets
    • Determine her best option for her late husband’s pension
    • Assist her with moving her late husband’s 401k into her name and then rolling it over to her IRA
    • Contact life insurance companies to claim death benefits
    • Help Sarah understand her Social Security benefit options
  • Create Sarah’s financial plan based on her goals
    • Set up sustainable withdrawals from the most tax-efficient accounts
    • Sarah was not opposed to re-entering the workforce for additional income and health care benefits
    • Recommend that she sell the 2nd home and recreational vehicles based on minimal usage and the expenses involved with upkeep and taxes

Final Steps:

  • Updated her beneficiaries
  • Introduced Sarah to an estate planning attorney to update her will, healthcare directives and power of attorney
  • Met with Sarah and her CPA to establish a tax ID for her late husband’s estate, ensure 1041 form is properly filed and final estate return was completed
  • Retitle home and investment accounts
  • Set up transfer on death designations for her savings and checking accounts
  • Continually monitor and update her plan

This case study is for illustrative purposes only. Individual cases will vary. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Prior to making any investment decision, you should consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.

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