There are two life events that can ruin your finances: a spouse's death and divorce. Unless you take steps to prepare for these, then you may find yourself grieving your loss while you're trying to find a way to get back on your feet financially once again. There are steps you can take to better prepare for events such as these though.
By the time one of these events occurs, it's too late to ask about what accounts exist and how to access them. This is why it's important for you to take an inventory of that information every six months while your relationship is going strong. If you keep track of the account numbers, online logins and passwords along the way, then you'll have ready access to them should your spouse file for divorce or pass away.
You'll also want to keep on hand any homeownership documents and financial statements, including those for investment and retirement accounts. If you find out that your name isn't on your home's deed or that you're not listed as a beneficiary on other documents, then you may have your name added so that they can be seamlessly transferred to you if the unexpected occurs.
It's important that both of you have your hands involved in managing the finances during your marriage instead of just one of you. By both of you knowing what the different sources of income are and what living expenses need to be paid, it will help you be able to budget for things if you divorce or your spouse passes on.
If you remain involved in discussions with your financial planner during your marriage, then you'll have a better idea of your current financial state. You'll also be better equipped to ask them about investments that may work better for you if your life circumstances change in the future.
Being served with divorce papers or losing a spouse can cripple you financially, especially if you've long been uninvolved in your family's finances. If you become more involved in your household's money matters early, then you'll be able to better settle into a chapter in your life when it comes time to do so. A Southern Maine attorney can help you prepare to re-enter the world alone once again.