Surviving Spouse - Case Study

Frank and Thelma Brown were high school sweethearts in the 50s. They married in 1958, shortly after Frank received his engineering degree. Frank advanced in his career and Thelma stayed home to raise their two children, Jeff and Kelly. Jeff eventually graduated from medical school and Kelly became a pharmacist. They each took jobs in different cities a long drive away from their parents.

By the time Frank retired from a successful career, Frank and Thelma had both become comfortable in their respective roles—Thelma managed the household, and Frank handled the business. Their comfort began to erode as Frank’s health began to fail. Frank and Thelma had worked hard to ensure their assets would last the rest of their days. Frank wanted to be certain that following his passing Thelma would not be burdened with paying the bills, learning to oversee investments, deciding which account(s) to use to pay living expenses, making good tax decisions and ensuring she paid all the right taxes at the right times (without over-paying), and similar issues that Frank had always taken care of during their long marriage. Frank and Thelma worked together with First Covenant, their estate planning attorney and financial advisor to create and fund a revocable living trust. Frank remained in control while he was competent, but he and Thelma had the peace of knowing that when he was no longer able to manage things a whole team of professionals at First Covenant was ready and waiting to take over without skipping a beat.

Sadly, Frank passed away in 2018 shortly after he celebrated 60 years of marriage with Thelma. Since then, First Covenant has been helping Thelma by handling the business that Frank used to handle—paying bills, working with their financial advisor to keep investments on track, and keeping an eye on taxes, among other things. This has freed Thelma from that responsibility and allowed her more time to do the things that she enjoys—things like evenings at the theatre or symphony, traveling, and of course spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.