When a spouse passes away, it can be a very difficult time in your life, difficult to find your way, difficult to know what to do.  

As a Will and Estate planning lawyer based in Siler City, North Carolina, and a resident of Chatham County, I learned of some common-sense steps that may help people based in North Carolina to navigate some of the real-world challenges that I faced when my wife died from cancer a few years ago. 

  • First, you have to take a moment to pause and pray.  Remember that you are not alone. You will get through it with the help of family and friends.
  • Second, remember that it is ok to ask for help.  No one expects you to get through it on your own.
  • Third, make a to-do list and try to make weekly progress. Tackle the big tasks first, such as planning the funeral. Although it will feel like everything needs to be done instantly —  that is not the case. The smaller tasks can wait. 

Examples of things that may be on your list, depending on your situation, are:

  1. Meet with the funeral director after the funeral.  They have been through this before and are an invaluable source of information.  They can be a big help with things such as getting death certificates or recommending counselors for your family.
  2. You can pick up the death certificate at the Chatham County Vital Records Office, located in Chatham County Courthouse Annex at 12 East Street, Pittsboro, NC on the first floor.
  3. Meet with your pastor as much as needed, or consider joining a grief support group. If you do not know of one, here are a few Chatham county churches that offer grief support: Chatham Community Church, Pittsboro Baptist Church, and Pittsboro Presbyterian Church.
  4. Keep an open line of communication with your employer.  Most employers are very sympathetic in these situations.
  5. Schedule a meeting with your banker/financial planner to discuss next steps.
  6. Schedule a consultation with Fadely Law to resolve any matters regarding your spouse’s last will and testament, living trust, or estate.
  7. If your spouse was receiving a payment from Social Security, contact them to inform them of your spouse’s death. If you have minor children, you will need to set up a representative payee account for them. Social Security’s toll-free number is 1-800-772-1213.
  8. Contact utility companies to discuss steps for switching the accounts to your name if there were any under your spouse’s name.
  9. Contact your spouse’s creditors and inform them of the situation.

Remember that no one expects you to recover quickly, it takes time and help and that is perfectly ok.

Contact the Law Office of Lewis Fadely to assist you in this difficult time. We can help to resolve all matters of Will and Estate law in the following North Carolina counties: Chatham County, Randolph County, Moore County, Guilford County, Lee County, Davidson County.

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