5 Ways to Offer Value to Surviving Spouses in Probate
via Katt Wagner
Surviving spouses often insist they have no plans of selling their primary residence or other property left behind by their spouse. However, emotional, physical, and financial factors can make it necessary to sell the property at some point in the future. Even in situations where there is no property involved at all, there are many ways you can easily provide value to a surviving spouse and solidify referral relationships with vendor partners at the same time, all while strengthening your own sphere of influence. We talk about ways to carve opportunities out of these situations often in our mastermind calls and training, but here’s a short refresher list of ideas to keep you on your toes:
- Assistance with Tax Preparation – Death, in essence, is a taxable event. The finances in the decedent’s estate can be a complicated tax situation for a surviving spouse. Oftentimes, the person in charge of settling the estate has never navigated tax scenarios beyond a 1040 annual filing. Emotional distress can also distract a grieving widow from taking the necessary tax preparation steps. Pairing a surviving spouse with a CPA who specializes in probate accounting is a great way to make sure important tax tasks are handled sooner rather than later. More on tax liability for heirs.
- Estate Clean Outs – Emotional, physical, and financial stressors can make estate clean out services especially valuable to surviving spouses. Grief can make it difficult for a spouse to sort through belongings, but financial factors might make it necessary to sell valuable assets and/or clear out other belongings to prepare for downsizing. A surviving spouse might also simply need help with the physical laboring required to sort through and move items around. The role you can play here is pairing a surviving spouse with a local estate clean out company that has experience dealing with different and complex situations: Look for a local company that mentions senior estate clean outs! See More: Rebel shares how she navigated complex fumigation and fire-damage cleanouts, as well as selling specialty items in an estate.
- Property Management – Not every surviving spouse wants to sell their primary residence or other properties previously owned or co-owned by the decedent. However, creating cash flow by renting these properties can help create monthly income for the surviving spouse. This monthly income might be necessary for a surviving spouse to maintain the property/properties and other personal living expenses. Your role here could be highly involved if you choose to help get these properties rented out yourself, or you could pass this on as a referral to a property manager you work with. See more: Building Generational Wealth: Turning an Inherited Property Into An Investment Portfolio.
- Life Insurance Evaluation – Especially in situations where the breadwinner passed away and left behind a spouse who has little to no experience in managing finances, life insurance policies could bring in lump sums and residual income. It’s possible a life insurance policy can help settle any debts in the estate and be turned into a source of monthly income for the surviving spouse through a concept called Infinite Banking. Your role here is as simple as finding an insurance agent that understands creative financing and the infinite banking concept. See more on Infinite Banking and Leveraging Investment Advisors.
- Estate Planning – If a surviving spouse is going through probate, it’s likely the decedent did not have a proper estate plan in place. As a surviving spouse navigates the probate process, it’s probably easy to assume they don’t want to do this again or subject their heirs to the same process. Getting the surviving spouse set up with a free consultation with an estate planning attorney is the first step in planning for a probate-less future for the family, and a great way to open the door to reciprocal referrals from estate planning attorneys near you. More on prospecting attorneys for reciprocal relationships
As you speak with prospects this week, remember all the ways you can help them besides helping them sell their house right here and now. Offer value first – your pipeline will thank you for it!