Relocating at the Death of a Spouse

How to Relocate After the Loss of a Loved One 

Article by Lucille Rosetti

The death of a spouse or a loved one and moving are among life’s most stressful events, so why would you consider combining them? While you have to examine your financial situation, family, and job status, there are several benefits that come with moving after a loss. Even though you can’t escape grief, researchers have found that discovering meaning for life after a loss can help one adapt. Whether it’s the next town over or across the country, a change of scenery can be just what you need to help you cope with the past while looking toward the future. 

Before the Move

  • Think Through Everything: Definitely take some time to mull over your decision because you want to make sure you’re making it with a rational mind, even if moving was always a part of your future plans. 
  • Know Your Tax Breaks: Keep in mind that if you lost your spouse and you’ve owned your home for at least five years, you can make up to a $500,000 profit on the sale of your home tax-free if you sell within two years of your spouse’s death. 
  • Increase the Value of Your Home: You should seriously consider making some home improvements to increase the resale value of your home. This way you can begin the next chapter in your life with some extra savings. While projects like roof repair/replacement and kitchen and bathroom remodels are at the top of the list in terms of receiving a favorable return, less expensive DIY projects like painting walls (preferably in a soft, neutral shade), adding curb appeal, updating fixtures, removing tired carpeting, improving window treatments, and cleaning up clutter can give you more bang for your buck with little investment required.  

Make the Move as Easy as Possible

  • Plan Ahead: Planning is everything. Create a moving timeline at least one month in advance. Crucial things to add to your list include: Decluttering, getting supplies, packing, change of address checklist, canceling/transferring utilities, packing an essentials box, and doing a walk-through of your new home in advance. 
  • Hire Help: To alleviate stress during an already stressful time, hire professional packers and movers to assist you. Pros know exactly which supplies to use, and they can get the job done in rocket-speed time. It’s up to you to declutter before everything gets boxed up. This doesn’t include your loved one’s items—there’s no need to rush this process. You don’t want to regret getting rid of something because you feel pressured at the moment.  

Celebrating Your Loved One

Moving on after the loss of a loved one does not mean you can’t continue to celebrate their memory. Psychologists actually encourage integrating thoughtful design elements to help in an emotional and spiritual capacity. Examples include: planting a tree; creating a book nook with all your loved one’s favorite reads; displaying pictures of a painted portrait;  honoring a special hobby or interest with pieces of their collection; turning favorite garments into a quilt; and creating a collage of notes, cards, or drawings from grandchildren. 

There are pros and cons to moving, and only you’ll know what direction is best for you. It’s likely that everyone around you will be putting in their two cents, so filter out the noise so you can make a decision with a clear head. You can still continue the grieving process at your new home. In fact, don’t be surprised if it’s easier to see the forest through the trees. 

For more information see: The Breaved