Yahoo! Finance: The death of a spouse is one of the most devastating events of a person's life. To make matters worse, at a time when you feel incapable of dealing with life's routines, you're slammed with an avalanche of financial tasks that require immediate attention. This can be particularly stressful if the surviving spouse, usually the wife, did not play an active role in the household finances.
But despite the pressure to do so, this is precisely the wrong time to make major financial decisions. If you act precipitously, you may make costly mistakes that will be tough to unwind later. “I tell my clients that they should be in a decision-free zone for six months to a year,” says Karen Folk, a certified financial planner in Urbana, Ill.
Don't put your house on the market. Don't give away money to your children or charity. Don't sell stocks or bonds. And don't agree to move in with an adult child, says Folk. Eventually, any of these steps may make perfect sense. But take a breather in the overwhelming weeks and months after a spouse dies