Case Study: Widowed and Learning the Ropes


Client and her husband had been working with us for a few years. We had gone through the initial planning process, implemented their investment plan and were working together to monitor progress on goal achievement. We had conducted an insurance and estate analysis and concluded they had adequate protection coverage and a solid estate plan. We offered to keep a copy of the estate documents on file as a means to consolidate important papers. We were deeply saddened to receive the news that the husband passed suddenly. Fortunately, we had a plan in place and a strong working relationship with both the husband and the wife, so we were able to quickly assist the wife who already considered us a trusted resource.

How Did We Help?

As a firm, we do our best to maintain a relatively small client-to-advisor ratio giving us the capacity to be available to assist during important periods such as the loss of a loved one and other emergency situations.

While offering our assistance to the widow and their immediate family, we worked quickly behind the scenes to coordinate with the appropriate resources and gather the necessary documents to guide the family through the next critical steps. The fact that we had a good working knowledge of their beneficiaries and overall estate plan allowed us to be helpful immediately to coordinate all parties involved. We facilitated such things as:

  • Assisted with bank account notifications
  • Moved cash for short-term needs for easier access and liquidity
  • Furnished estate attorneys with inventory of assets (including real assets)
  • Assisted in notification to life insurance companies and provided necessary documentation
  • Captured date-of-death valuations to be later compared with asset valuation six months forward to determine most advantageous cost-basis step-up valuation date
  • Prepared and participated in the probate process
  • Assisted with Executrix education and administration where appropriate
  • Transferred assets in accordance with the husband's estate plan and beneficiary designations for qualified accounts
  • Coordinated with CPA and Estate Attorney to finalize the estate
  • Worked with the wife in due course to update her estate documents

As promised, we were standing by ready-to-assist for this unexpected life-happens event. From providing meals to the family, to coordinating donations for the 'in lieu of flowers' cause, to providing counsel to not make any major life changes for a time, we helped our client and her family through the transition. In time, through education and truly an extraordinary amount of courage, our client began to take on the financial responsibilities her husband once managed. And with confidence.


Our client dealt with an unexpected tragedy; however, she was grateful to have Pauley Financial at her side. It's always a challenge to cope with the emotional loss of a loved one, so having our team help navigate the myriad steps to settle the estate in the most cost-efficient and timely manner proved most valuable to her. Today, we continue the journey together, tracking progress and making adjustments along the way.