Learning from tragedy – an attorney discusses pre-death planning based on lessons learned from 9/11 widows

Attorney Elisa Shevlin Rizzo helped five women widowed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 when they found that their husbands had neglected to name them as beneficiaries or made similar financial errors, causing an already dreadful time to be even more difficult.

Rizzo now teaches clients about pre-death planning. “If you have things well-organized ahead of time, it’s going to make the surviving partner’s life that much easier,” she told Abby Schultz in Barrons.

She says that attending to details such as titling all assets with the correct names, establishing an emergency fund and checking beneficiaries of retirement plans and other funds can save a surviving spouse problems at times of grief. Most people are unprepared for emergencies and tragedies.

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