My spouse just died. Do I have access to his or her accounts?

Generally, if your name does not appear on the account, either as a joint owner with rights of survivorship, trustee (if the account is held in trust), or a beneficiary, you probably can’t access the account unless authorized to do so by the probate court having jurisdiction over your spouse’s estate. Each state has its own laws dealing with this situation, and the applicable rules may differ from one state to the next. Even if you are named as agent in your spouse’s power of attorney with the right to access his or her accounts, that authorization ends upon the death of the person executing the power of attorney, namely your spouse.

 

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Adjusting to Life Financially after a Divorce

There’s no doubt about it — going through a divorce can be an emotionally trying time. Ironing out a divorce settlement, attending various court hearings, and dealing with competing attorneys can all weigh heavily on the parties involved.

In addition to the emotional impact a divorce can have, it’s important to be aware of how your financial position will be impacted. Now, more than ever, you need to make sure that your finances are on the right track. You will then be able to put the past behind you and set in place the building blocks that can be the foundation for your new financial future. Continue reading “Adjusting to Life Financially after a Divorce”

Investing as a Couple: Getting to Yes

 

In a perfect world, both halves of a couple share the same investment goals and agree on the best way to try to reach them. It doesn’t always work that way, though; disagreements about money are often a source of friction between couples. You may be risk averse, while your spouse may be comfortable investing more aggressively–or vice versa. How can you bridge that gap? Continue reading “Investing as a Couple: Getting to Yes”

Counting on Your Husband’s Retirement Income? Three Things Women Should Know

 

Women face special challenges when planning for retirement. Women are more likely than men to work in part-time jobs that don’t qualify for a retirement plan. And women are more likely to interrupt their careers (or stay out of the workforce altogether) to raise children or take care of other family members. As a result, women generally work fewer years and save less, leaving many to rely on their husbands’ savings and benefits to carry them both through retirement.1

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If I delay receiving Social Security benefits, should I still sign up for Medicare at age 65?

Even if you plan on waiting until full retirement age or later to receive Social Security retirement benefits, consider signing up for Medicare. If you’re 65 or older and aren’t yet receiving Social Security benefits, you won’t be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You can sign up for Medicare when you first become eligible during your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period. This period begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65. Continue reading “If I delay receiving Social Security benefits, should I still sign up for Medicare at age 65?”

Does my 16-year-old have to pay Social Security tax on her earnings?

 

Answer:

Like most wage-earning employees, your 16-year-old will most likely have to pay Social Security tax on her earnings. Of course, every rule has its exceptions. In this case, there are three. She may be exempt from paying Social Security taxes if she (1) works in the family business, (2) works in domestic service, or (3) delivers newspapers. Continue reading “Does my 16-year-old have to pay Social Security tax on her earnings?”