Sheila Lamonte was just 57 when her husband, Bill, died suddenly of a massive heart attack. His death shook her world both emotionally and financially. Not only did she face the loss of her partner, but Bill died without a will and had eschewed life insurance. He figured he didn’t need it because he was in good shape and took care of himself.

The problem: Sheila had been counting on Bill’s income as an electrical engineer to help grow their nest egg in the final push toward retirement.

With Bill gone, Sheila will have to get by without his $80,000 per year salary. Sheila has always had a busy social life and she’d like that to continue—especially in the wake of Bill’s death when she expects to feel lonely. She also envisions a comfortable retirement with opportunities for travel and plenty of activity.

Sheila’s only son recently graduated medical school, which was fully funded by his parents. He is quite willing to help his mother out financially when he is able, but Sheila is loath to take his money. Instead, she would like to find a way to be self-sufficient.

Sheila’s situation isn’t uncommon. She is among the nearly five per cent of all Canadians who are widowed yearly, according to Statistics Canada. She’s seeking advice to help her negotiate her new financial reality with dignity.

Advisor analysis

Jennifer Black
Senior Financial Advisor/Certified
Financial Planner
Dedicated Financial Solutions, Manulife Securities

Sheila’s first act should be to contact a funeral home to arrange a funeral and have a death certificate prepared. I would suggest she ask…Click to read more from Jennifer

Sterling Rempel
Future Values Estate & Financial Planning

It is regrettable that Sheila’s husband died without a will…and it could happen to her. Does she have a will, an enduring power of attorney and a personal directive? If she became incapacitated, would her son have the authority to deal with her affairs? I would deal with…Click to read more from Sterling

Carol Plaisier
Investment and
Insurance Advisor
HollisWealth (a division of Scotia Capital Inc.)

Widows are coping with all kinds of emotions, including grief, fear and worry about the unknown. I usually start by making it clear that, when it comes to their investments, they don’t have to do anything tomorrow…Click to read more from Carol