Walking through life as a grieving widow is a journey that has many twists and turns. Whether you’re newly widowed, or have been living on your own for several years or more, the process doesn’t necessarily get easier – and it can be helpful to have a few resources available to guide you through this challenging chapter in your life. Thankfully for Atlanta widows, there are many resources available.
As a widow, you’ll find that different coping mechanisms work during different seasons of your grief. However, after working primarily with widows and divorcees as a financial planner, I’ve found that a few specific resources can be a huge help during this time:
Whether you’re struggling to sort out what you’re currently owed from your spouse or partner’s estate plan, or you want to start putting your own estate plan in motion now that your financial and lifestyle situation has changed, finding an attorney is an excellent first step. First, if you’re struggling through probate after a spouse passes away, you should be speaking with an attorney to help guide you through the process and act as an administrator of your spouse’s estate.
If you’re looking ahead to your future as a widow, and aren’t sure what type of plan you need to have in place, an estate planning attorney can help. The truth is that women who are working toward building an estate plan have unique concerns that need to be addressed that may have shifted or changed after being widowed. Finding an estate planning attorney who’s focused on giving you a voice in your estate plan, and empowering you to make choices about your wealth and your future, can help you to feel confident about the legal side of your finances.
One of the most important resources to look for as a widow is community. There are several different places where you can seek connection and support among other widows who have shared similar experiences. In some cases, you may find searching for a local Atlanta Facebook community may be enough for you. However, if you’re looking for more resources, support, or in-person connection, consider looking into:
If you’re struggling with an empty schedule and feelings of loneliness, getting involved with local meetups for other widows can also be helpful.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new widow or have been on your own for 10+ years, seeking a therapist or counselor if you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or even just lost without your spouse is always a viable option. Finding a therapist who specializes in grief counseling can help you to move through emotions that you’ve never experienced before in the wake of this loss.
Of course, don’t feel obligated to attend a grief-focused counseling session (or sessions) if you would rather work on other areas of your life during this next chapter. For example, if you feel anxious about living at home alone, or want to talk through what next steps might look like as you move forward without them, that’s healthy and perfectly okay, too.
You don’t need to feel tied to one particular method of grieving, and your therapist or counselor can help you to develop a plan based on what you’re going through as your own unique experience.
It’s also wise to seek financial guidance within the first year of widowhood. Starting with a CPA, or tax planning professional can help you to organize any tax strategy necessary as a result of life insurance payouts or inheritance you’ll receive after the death of your spouse. They’ll also be able to help ensure that you meet any tax filing deadlines that are tied to your estate.
One great resource for Atlanta widows is Bereavement Navigators, created by my friend Ronnie Genser. Ronnie is a widow and created Bereavement Navigators to help others prepare for and live with the loss of a spouse or partner. She helps widows (and adult children) get organized and provides guidance and mentoring.
Then, you can reach out to a financial planner to start creating a financial strategy that helps to take care of you now, in the wake of your loss, and also helps you to look ahead and plan for the future. Your financial plan should be uniquely tailored to your values and goals. It can be tough to set new goals if you’re newly widowed, and your financial planner can help. Having conversations that connect your money with your lifestyle can help to give you the confidence you need to start living in a way that brings you fulfillment and joy – even after loss.
Are you looking for specific resources for widows in the Atlanta area? Feel free to schedule a meeting with me. I’d love to help you find an attorney, tax professional, community, or even a support group that meets your needs during this difficult time of life.