It is an unfortunate reality of estate planning that a substantial number of clients have been widowed, some recently so. Widowed clients frequently face the reality of dealing with . . .
They have undergone a major life change
They may struggle with making decisions – not because they are incapable, but because they miss the input from their deceased spouse
They may be responsible for their household’s financial and legal matters for the first time in many years, or perhaps for the first time in their lives
They may have adult children attempting to influence their choices, whether for good or ill
As you can see, clients who have lost spouses face a unique set of challenges as they make (or re-make) their legal decisions. It is the role of their attorney to take these challenges into account as they determine which legal recommendations to make to the client. When making the decision whether to retain a particular attorney, a prospective client should take into account the attorney’s willingness to listen to his/her client, educate the client about the legal issues if needed, and potentially provide a sounding board for the client as she/he navigates difficult family relationships. Above all, the attorney should be patient as the widowed client adjusts to their life’s new demands and treat them with the dignity and compassion they deserve.