I don't necessarily disagree with the items on the list. In fact, I find it to be a thoughtful and useful list. However, my feeling when reading the list is that it sounds as if the person doing all of those steps already knows his or her legal position with regard to financial assets, family arrangements, and inheritance. I only wish that all people were really that well informed. I can't even tell you how many times I've met with a widow or widower who believed their state of affairs to be completely different than it really was.
I've met people whose spouses never changed the paperwork that named previous spouses as beneficiaries. I've met those who thought their spouse had made a will or bought life insurance or put the house in joint names, but were wrong. Then there are the dozens who didn't realize that their spouse's business or cabin was neck-deep in debt. And let's not even get into the complications arising from blended families.
Ms. Blaufus does mention, near the bottom of her list, going to see a lawyer if there may be a dispute. If I could add to her list, I would advise to see an experienced estate lawyer after your spouse passes away, even if you don't expect a dispute. Find out where you stand. Is the house yours? What do you have to do to change the title? Is there insurance? Does the will leave the estate to you? I think this conversation should take place before you try changing the name on any assets.
The time after losing a spouse is hard enough without getting blindsided by legal issues.