Losing a spouse or another family member

The death of a spouse or another family member will probably have a major impact on your financial situation. But with a little planning, you should be able to avoid a lot of the negative consequences and get through this difficult time.

Money matters

Advise people and organizations of the death

Your spouse or family member may have prepared a Personal Record (PDF, 186 KB) Opens in a new window. and a Quick Reference (PDF, 36 KB) Opens in a new window. to make it easier to settle their estate. But, you'll still have to inform people and organizations about their death. You'll need to contact:

  • The financial institutions they had bank accounts, credit cards, investments and insurance policies with
  • Federal and provincial agencies, including the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Their employer's human resources department
  • Etc.

Keep in mind that all of the deceased's accounts – including joint accounts – may be frozen until the estate has been settled.

Depending on your situation, you may be able to contact the executor of the estate directly if you know each other.

If your spouse has died, create a budget so you can…

  • Allocate income to expenses (rent, groceries, loan payments, etc.)
  • Identify shared expenses that will need to be transferred into your name or paid by the estate (mortgages, personal loans, etc.)
  • Decide what to do with your joint accounts (bank accounts, credit cards, investments, etc.)

Tips from an expert

Talk to a representative or a financial planner about…

  • Submitting benefit claims to the appropriate financial institutions
  • Taking stock of all of the deceased's insurance coverages to decide which ones should be maintained or replaced (like group insurance if you don't have this coverage yourself)
  • Updating the beneficiaries of your insurance policies and retirement savings plans
  • Taking out life insurance to make sure your loved ones are taken care of when you die
  • Buying other coverages (disability, critical illness, long-term care, etc.) to protect your savings in case you get sick or become disabled
  • Improving your savings skills

Talk to a lawyer or a notary about…

  • Your spouse or family member's estate plan
  • Contacting the executor of the estate

Talk to an accountant or a tax specialist about…

  • The financial and tax impact of your spouse's or family member's death and the resulting asset transfers on your taxes, child benefits, tax credits, etc.