When my husband Jason died, there were many things I did not have to worry about. All our bills, our two vehicles, the apartment, were in my name. There were only a couple minor things I had to get changed into my name. This caused a very difficult situation to be not as difficult.
My husband’s death caused many of my married friends to talk about things they would not normally think about. Some have approached me for further advice. I willingly gave it. Another friend encouraged me to write things down so that maybe I can help others. Maybe even reach people I don’t know. So here it is. Advice on things you should talk to your spouse/significant other about in case something should happen to them.
1) Make sure your spouse knows all your passwords to your various social media, emails and other such things. I don’t and I am now afraid of what will happen to Jason’s Facebook page if I can’t get his password. I don’t want it deactivated due to inactivity. Such a small thing often feels huge during times like this.
2) If you pay all the bills, make sure your spouse knows how to access them and how/when to pay them. Are they emailed to you? Make sure your spouse sees them too. Also wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk to the companies that own your bills to see how difficult it would be to get everything switched into their name should the unthinkable happen.
That includes: car, loans, mortgage, utilities, EVERYTHING that has to be paid, or is in your name, make your spouse and you know the ins and outs of all the bills.
3) If something does happen, and you have to get the bills switched over, call the company at a time you’re feeling less terrible. Try not to cry. Have a friend there with you if that is needed. Do not tell them they have to help you. Say: My spouse died. The bill (mortgage, whatever) was in their name. What do I need to do to have it changed into my name?
I had to contact two places and they helped me over the phone. I assumed I would have to send something (death certificate) in. I did not. As I have worked customer care for years, I feel that my calm attitude, and the fact that I was asking for help, not demanding it, had a lot to do with the fact that we could take care of things over the phone.
4) Have extra death certificates. Hated having extra, still have a few too many, but you never know which companies will ask for one.
5) Jason and I did not have kids, so I can’t give any advice on that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was advice out there from a widow or widower that is also a parent.
6) Lastly. If you are a homosexual couple, I would imagine that there are far more things you have to worry about when your spouse dies, as the laws do not protect you yet. I have read a few heartbreaking articles on homosexual couples losing everything due to the fact that our laws in the States still suck for you guys. Find out how to protect yourselves legally to ensure that your things remain your things should your partner die. It is already a difficult thing when a spouse dies. Having the security of power of attorney may make things less horrid.
That’s all I have for the moment. If I have more, or if you have questions, I’ll add more. Peace and good health to all.