7 Things Widows Need to Ask Their Wealth Advisor
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Michelle Byington

Few life events are as devastating as the loss of a spouse. On top of your grief, you now may be solely responsible for all financial tasks, including paying bills, investing, and estate planning.

When you’re ready, it’s important to set up a meeting with your wealth advisor. Michele Byington, Vice President and Wealth Advisor for Regions Private Wealth Management in Orlando, Florida, recommends bringing a list of questions to your financial advisor, including these seven:

1. What is the fee structure on my investment portfolio?

Fees vary with each fund, stock, or bond in your portfolio. Your advisor can explain the fee structure for each investment, when it will be charged to your account, and the service you can expect to receive for that fee.

2. How will my investments work to provide income during my retirement years?

Your financial advisor can review all of your financial assets, including 401(k)s, pensions, Social Security benefits, insurance policies, and investments. As part of this review, you can outline your current and future needs and retirement goals. Your advisor can create a portfolio designed to meet those needs and goals.

3. As a widow, are the titles of my financial accounts appropriate?

It may be necessary to change the title of your financial accounts. For example, joint accounts with your spouse need to be retitled in your name.

4. Should we review debt and appropriate payment structures?

Your wealth advisor can help develop a payment structure for any outstanding debt.

5. How often should we meet to review my investment performance and strategy?

It’s not uncommon to have annual reviews. But you may opt for more frequent face-to-face meetings with your advisor to review your portfolio and determine if your investments need to be rebalanced or reallocated.

6. Can you help me review my banking needs?

It’s important to have a full understanding of all your financial accounts, including investment, savings, checking, individual retirement accounts, etc. Your wealth advisor can introduce you to banking tools that can offer you a seamless way to manage all of your accounts.

7. Can you help me review all the financial assets I’m inheriting from my spouse?

Ask your wealth advisor to explain all the financial assets you’re inheriting from your spouse — including life insurance, IRAs, and pensions plans — and how you can use these assets right now and during your retirement. Your advisor can also help consolidate assets into one financial institution to make it easier for you to manage your investments and accounts.

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This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.