In some instances, a creditor will ask for a surviving spouse to update an application or to reapply. This can happen if the initial acceptance is based on all or part of the deceased’s income. After submitting an application or re-application, the creditor will determine whether it will extend credit. While an application is being considered, the creditor must let the surviving spouse use the account without new restrictions. The creditor must respond to the applicant in writing within 30 days.

Sometimes widows willingly turn over all decision making to someone else so they won’t have to think about these issues and under the circumstances, this is certainly understandable. However, except in rare instances, no one can deal with most of these issues but you.

Whenever you feel down or overwhelmed by the decisions you have to make, remember, "A father of the fatherless and a champion of widows is God in His holy dwelling" (Psalm 68:5). Pray for God’s guidance, and trust in His love for you during this difficult time of adjustment.

Once again, make no long-range financial decisions during the first year. And under no circumstances should you turn over finances to anyone to invest for you until you’ve recovered emotionally.

God’s Word encourages us to "be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’" (Hebrews 13:5).

Howard Dayton is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries. Dayton and the late Larry Burkett joined forces in 2000 when Crown Ministries, led by Dayton, merged with Christian Financial Concepts, led by Burkett. The new organization became Crown Financial Ministries, on the web at

© 2006 Baptist Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.