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Loss of Spouse





Figure out what a new and different life looks like going forward, create reliable income, and give more to charity in a tax-efficient way.

Woman Experiencing Brain Fog - Case Study 3

Emily lost her wife, Sue, two months ago. After a two year battle with brain cancer and five years with Parkinsons, Emily is grieving and brain fog is a daily battle. Emily used to be more on top of things, but is having trouble doing what used to be easy for her.


Emily is not sure what to do next. She knows she should call her attorney to figure out what she needs to do with their financial accounts, but hasn’t. She isn’t sure if she should do anything special this year to prepare for taxes or how next year will be different. She wants to give more to charity and make a gift to honor Sue, but she heard giving cash is not the best way to do it.

She knows Sue’s Social Security will go away, but she is not sure how her Social Security will be affected or which accounts to take withdrawals from for income.

She feels paralyzed and does not know where to start.


Emily feels embarrassed because she feels like she should be able to organize everything. She should find the space where she does not feel embarrassed, feels welcome to ask questions (there are no stupid questions), and spend multiple meetings with a fiduciary financial planner who can help her organize her financial life.

Once she organizes everything, she should be able to breathe a sigh of relief. She should move forward, unstuck from what she had been feeling.


Emily should chip away, with the help of her estate planning attorney and financial planner, to achieve the following:

  • Set up new accounts, transfer Sue’s accounts to her own, and step up the cost basis on their main investment account
  • Implement a larger Roth conversion that year while she can still file taxes as married filing jointly
  • Make a large gift from her Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) in coordination with the Roth conversion
  • Plan to make additional gifts with stock that has gone up in value
  • Agree to a monthly withdrawal to supplement her Social Security

Although Emily occasionally feels like the brain fog gets the better of her, she should be proud of the progress she makes with her therapist and feel like a huge weight is off her shoulders. She should trust that she is moving in the right direction and look forward to making a gift in Sue’s honor each year.

You can learn more about how to approach your money by reading the How To Manage Your Resources as a Widow guide.

Note: The above case study is hypothetical and does not involve an actual Kindness Financial Planning client. No portion of the content should be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that they will experience the same or certain level of results or satisfaction if Kindness Financial Planning is engaged to provide investment and financial planning services.