A client visited today and asked what advice we give to husbands and wives about financial responsibilities when one spouse has died. It’s still often one spouse’s task to pay bills and make household arrangements, and if that spouse dies first, what can be done to assist the survivor? My suggestion was just what I have done. Although my wife is familiar with our bills and the various contracts we have for maintaining our home, it makes sense to put that information into a separate “guidebook”. The book includes what monthly, quarterly and annual bills need to be paid; what assets we have; what sources of income (Social Security, pensions, IRAs) we can draw upon; who to contact about life insurance, retirement plans, pensions; and what immediate steps to take when one of us dies. It’s easy to put off this kind of planning, but having such a guide makes life so much easier at a time that is full of stress and uncertainty.