A majority of American women are confident they could manage the household finances if they lost their spouses, but many do not have all of the documents they need to handle the job, says a new study released Wednesday by BMO Private Bank in Chicago.

In the event of the death of a spouse or divorce, 88 percent of women say they would be able to manage their household finances effectively and 71 percent believe they would be able to maintain their current standard of living, according to the survey.

However, 28 percent are afraid of ending up homeless or broke if they face retirement alone, while 56 percent say they would be fine being single in retirement.

“While no one wants to have to think about divorce, a medical emergency or the death of a spouse, it’s encouraging to know that America’s women are feeling pretty confident about their ability to go it alone financially should something happen to their partner,” says Mary Jo Herseth, National Head of Banking at BMO Private Bank.

The study found that 85 percent of the 609 women surveyed manage household finances or share responsibility equally with their spouse, according to the survey.

The study found that a majority of women do not have the documents they need to make managing finances for their families easier: Fifty-eight percent do not have a will, 62 percent do not have a living will and 68 percent do not have a power of attorney.

Financial advisors who specialize in advising women in transition, such as Kimberly Foss,  say advisors should be aware recent widows and divorcees may need special attention during their transition.

Many male advisors still do not treat the woman in a couple as an equal to a man and they lose the client when a divorce or death occurs, they said.

“Male advisors need to learn to communicate with women in an empathetic way, not talk down to them or over their heads, to help them through the transition,” says Kimberly Foss, founder and president of Empyrion Wealth Management Inc. in Roseville, Calif. “I am amazed that this still happens, but it does, although it is getting better.”

Most women leave their husbands’ advisors when they begin to manage the family money on their own, and “it is because of a lack of service, not performance or costs,” she says.

Although most are confident of their abilities to manage the finances, many women who have been through a traumatic event need help becoming the financial person in the family. That takes education with the help of an advisor, Foss says.

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