Financial planner for end of life

I am in my early 80's and even though in decent health I not know how much longer I will be around. Statistically I will predecease my wife and as such want to make it relatively easy for her to deal with all the necessary paperwork which will be required to rearrange our financial affairs after I am gone. We have a will and an attorney who will help her with the trust but there are many other issues which will need to be addressed such as Social Security benefits, changing title on accounts, notifying insurance companies, retirement accounts, etc. etc. It will most probably be a rather stressful time in the best of circumstances so I want to her to have a person or a team who she can rely on to guide and assist her with all the necessary matters. These are the reasons we are asking for some recommendations for financial planners or counselors who are experienced in dealing with the end of life situation. It would be best to be introduced to those who are in the East Bay (with Oakland-Berkeley preferred), reliable, easy to deal with and scrupulously honest. Many, many thanks for your knowledge and assistance. We are grateful.

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I highly recommend Karen Jaber, who is based in Mill Valley but travels all over the Bay Area to see clients, so you would never have to go to MV. She has helped both my almost 80-year old mom and my brother's mother-in-law, and we both liked her so much that we each worked with her ourselves as well. She's incredibly personable and patient, and has a lot of older clients. We have had excellent experiences with her. You can reach her at kjaber [at] or 415-968-4309.

I don't have a recommendation for a financial planner but I have been helping out my mother, who is 90, with many of these issues you are bringing up.  My dad, who passed away 3 months ago at the age of 95, was pretty well organized and had many of his important papers filed together and told me where they were.   When it came time to deal with things I did not have to hunt and peck to find where papers were stashed away.  It will be a very stressful and difficult time for your wife if you go before her.  My mom has been very stressed out with dealing with the financial matters (as well as grieving) as my dad took care of everything, ie paying bills, property tax, etc.  And his name was on all the bills.  You don't mention whether you have children, but my sister and I have been taking on the task of dealing with these matters as our mom is pretty much clueless.  Also, I've been named as the Executor of their trust once my mom passes on so I knew eventually I would have to take on the responsibility.  My dad prepped me a few years ago about where his papers etc were and what I'd have to deal with, so I was not completely at a loss.  It's good and smart you are preparing for the time when it will happen. The surviving spouse will be dealing with the grief on top of all the financial matters that follow a death. 

As far as Social Security goes, the mortuary will usually notify them.  Then Social Security will notify the surviving spouse and make the relevant changes to the benefits she will receive from here on out.    Also, the month that the person passes away, SS will take that month's benefit back.  SS will notify the bank that you have your SS benefit direct deposited into and request the money back from them.  There is a lot of busy work involved calling companies, utilities, etc.  to change the name on bills.  I bought the Nolo Press book,The Executor's Guide, which also gives some information on what the surviving spouse has to do.  I found it very helpful.  They also suggest you contact the DMV and report the death so no one steals that person's identity (we had to return his handicap placard too).  My dad's mortuary suggested my mom get 6 death certificates (which the mortuary will apply for).  Some places want an original, some places will accept a copy.  If you have a large life insurance policy, they will definitely want an original (and the DMV also asked for an original).  

I am learning alot from this experience.  We had some time to prepare as my dad was in home hospice for 6 weeks before he died.  Though my husband and I have a trust, dealing with my dad's things makes me think about being more organized so it will make life easier for my husband or my children if I go first.  

Rick Prime at Prime Wealth Management. The nicest person, and he truly has your interests at heart.

I've been working with him for a year (we needed to get our affairs in order) and he's been excellent-- researching life insurance (I have a tricky inherited gene and doubted I was insurable) and showing us options, advising us on how best to maximize my child's 529. I can't say enough about him.