[This article was originally published on March 13, 2003. The links were updated on August 24, 2018.]
Mark R. Colgan. The Survivor Assistance Handbook: A Guide for Financial Transition. (Mark Colgan, Rochester, N.Y.: 2002, 44 p.) (click on book to order)
This slim volume provides valuable and practical information for surviving spouses and other family and friends upon the death of a loved one.
Author Mark Colgan is a certified financial planner who decided to write this handbook after losing his wife and, in the midst of his grief, being overwhelmed by what he describes as "a mountain of financial details." If he, a financial expert, was having so much difficulty knowing what to do, Colgan could only imagine what other survivors must face.
Colgan''s handbook explains, among other things, whom to notify of a death, how to sort through and file important documents, where to look for survivor benefits, how to handle bills, the responsibilities of the executor, and determining an estate''s income tax liability. Colgan stresses that the information he gives cannot replace the advice of attorneys, financial planners or other professionals. The booklet is brief, but it may be all the reading survivors are able to handle in a time of sorrow.