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Can We Talk about all the other "stuff"?


Ry

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All the stuff you have to do after a death? I think I am making my way through things and then all these other things come up that I didn't think about. I wish there was a check off list you could work through so you hit every thing you have to do (and yes I actually searched the Internet and couldn't find one that goes farther than the immediate stuff).

I did all the immediate notifications to Social Security, insurance company, credit union, etc.(btw- did you know if you have a joint credit union account there is really only one "member" and if it's not you by law the account has to be closed?) closed "his" account and transferred funds to mine, anyway-- the point being (yeah I'm getting there) new things come up every day I didn't think about. I didn't think about the boat and vehicle titles that have to be switched, our home deed, the taxes, etc. I haven't even started to change credit cards (all of a sudden I wish we didn't' have so many).

So... is there an easier way to do all this? Am I still missing something? I could use some advice.

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The worst thing that happened to me was I lost my internet banking. When I went and changed my bank account from joint to single, Charlie's social secuirty number was what the internet banking was setup based on. It completely wiped it all out and they couldn't even give me a copy of anything. I had to start from scratch and redo all my payees, scheduled payments, etc. It was very upsetting at the time that they didn't tell me that was going to happen so I could save everything first.

Nothing else comes to mind from your list, Ry. There are probably things I haven't done that will turn up at some point.

I think about you often. Hang in there. It has gotten some better.

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We're going through all that right now with my mother-in-law who passed away last August. I don't think there is an easier way to do it, Ry, we're just handling things as well as we can when they come up.

I've run through many, many more death certificates than I thought we'd ever need for an old woman who didn't have a car, much in the way of stock, bank accounts, etc.

I just think that doing that kind of thing along with the feeling of loss and trying to take over all the things that John used to do and take care of the family and all of your other responsibilities has to be hard on you.

It will all work out eventually, but I know it's hard.

Cindy

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Dearest Ry,

Brian died Jan 1, 2006. I am still working on things as they come up.

at&t wouldn't even let me make changes to phone service and that turned into a huge hassle.

My online banking still says Hello, Brian when I log in.

The transponder for the toll road autopay was another big deal

I am getting a passport and need to provide our marriage license again

It just never ends

Never,

but neither does my love for Brian, so I guess it is just part of the combining of our lives which I am grateful for

Hugs, dear.

I am so so sorry and I really get it.

Love

P

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We pulled a credit report, and worked off the credit report for contact information on notifying creditors of changes and of the death. Most of them have a probate department that only require a death cert.

In Texas, the DMV only requires the death certificate and a notarized form to change titles- and you can have it notarized at your bank and other than your license you don't have to "prove" anything- (kind of scary, it's so simple)

And you're right about the banking and utilities- they all have to be closed and transferred to the surviving spouse or executor. My mom was able to go a whole year still keeping the same account until someone at the bank realized it and made her make the change. (they all knew her there for years)

This was another heartbreak for my mom when the first new box of checks came without my dad's name on them.

I used to live in England and before we moved back my mom had the phones turned on for me. My phone bill was in her name for 8 years! until JUST last month when Rick decided we needed to go from a local carrier to a Cable bundle package and that account was closed.

There was comfort in seeing her name on that bill every month and when it stopped it was a little jab and a reminder of what's been lost.

I wish there was an easier way. It just doesn't seem fair that there's so much "outside" stuff when dealing with a loss.

((hugs)) Hoping today will be a better day for you.

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Oh Ry,

I so know what you mean. I haven't even notified social security, because Bill's name is still on our bank accounts. I have one new in my name only and the other 2 in both our names and they're all linked in the online banking -- I don't know how that worked out, but it did. So for now, I'm just leaving them.

I asked to change the name on my satellite T.V. account (every time I call they ask who William is), and they had to get all these approvals and change it in name only, but not social. Otherwise I would have to start over, and even they told me I should avoid that if at all possible.

The mortgage was the most stressful. When we bought our home, I had a bad mark on my credit. So we only used Bill's credit. My name was added to the title and all that, but not on the mortgage. I ended up being able to assume the loan fairly easily, but it took about 6 to 8 weeks and I was really scared they were going to come up with a reason to make me qualify for my own loan!

Right now I'm dreading doing my taxes.

If you find a good check list (I think I searched for that too), please, please post it!

For me, I'm just doing those things as they occur to me or as I feel I need to. I did all of the important stuff fairly early (at least I hope I did), and have been recently focusing on ways to reduce monthly bills (cancelling Bill's mobile phone, etc.), but it's never ending...

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Ry,

Thank you for starting this thread. It has been nearly two years since Mike passed and I still have loose ends to wrap up. I did the things you initially have to do with Social Security, Life insurance etc. I did get my car put in my name only, was able to go online and get the forms and information to mail in and it was no problem. I however started dragging my feet after that and I still have most of my bills still in his name or ours. I've been afraid to change charge accounts because they might make me prove I have an income to pay them and at present I don't . As for checking account, I read somewhere that you should open an account in your name and gradually move the funds over , leaving some in that account until you are ready to close it. I'm still using our old account and still have our names on the checks. One thing you might want to think about is that any refund checks that may come in his name, you will still be able to deposit in that account by just writing for deposit only on the back, so don't close it.

There's another thing... I desperately need to work and I have no idea where. I've been living on insurance proceeds , but they will run out and I will be up the creek. I haven't worked , except for a bit of part time odd stuff, over all the years since we got married. I'm a lost soul... Anyone want to hire me? I would love a work at home job.

Look at me, this is your thread and I'm getting carried away, but I too have not had much success finding out the answers to all the practical stuff that I need to do. I have so much more to handle. I haven't handled this widowhood stuff well. My ability to focus seems to be zilch.

Sorry for all this venting, but have needed a place to do that.

Sue

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Yup -- I told my husband's former company that I wished they had a manual for those left behind. The woman chuckled and said I wasn't the first who had mentioned that.

Social Security, Medicare, Pension, Health Insurance, Life Insurance needing beneficiary changes, Auto Insurance, Auto titles, Utility bills, Attorneys, Accountants --- the list goes on and on. I haven't even thought about utility bills. Thanks Sue for letting me know why my bank cashes checks that come with his name on them -- even when the sender knows he's gone! :shock: My bank said I could continue to use the checks with both names and have my daughter sign on to the account without her name appearing on the checks. Thank goodness we didn't believe in credit cards -- one less item to check off my list.

Then, there is the almighty Probate Court. That was a little stumble on our part. Although we had both the house and condo titled in our names and our trusts names, we never did that with the stock. We figured anything not in the trust would be covered by our wills. Oh -- but not if it's over a certain $$$ amount. So, I'm sitting smack-dab in the middle of probate.

It takes a lot of time emotionally to work my way up to doing some of these things. Then, one by one, they get handled and I'm wiped out, despite my efforts to mentally disconnect what I'm doing from my loss. The dimwits you encounter along the way don't help matters either. Someone always screws up and sends you a wrong form or deposits the wrong amount of money into your account. Give me a break. I feel like I'm still barely scratching the surface of what needs to be done. I did pay my mortgage off the other day, so did a little happy dance on that score.

I go very slow, even though I know my attorney's tell me I need to get certain things done. The reality for me is that I could be struggling, so I can't complain. (But I just did. :roll: )

Good luck --- ain't it fun? Wish there was a magic wand to "poof" get all this done for you Rochelle. Sorry and a lot of understanding here. Maybe we could make a list as a sticky for this section to help everyone. We sure are getting the experience.

Debi :idea: (lol for you.)

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Thanks Ry

I am 8 months out and haven't done a half of it. I am DREADING re-financing the house. It was in Karens name only and argh!! It is gonna be a witch, I'm sure. The bills are easy enough and the cars, but I can't seem to be able to call them and get them changed out of her name and into mine. I just don't want to dig out the death certs and tell people that I don't even know that she is gone. Plus - I like seeing her name every time I reach into the mail box. Thanks for posting the websites!!

Anne

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For some reason I am not getting a sticky option in this forum to post the lists as a sticky. Maybe a moderator could try?

I've enjoyed reading all the responses. I had a nightmare with Social Security. They marked my daughter Jillian as deceased instead of John. Don't ask me how they managed that one. It took me about 2 months to get that straightened out. It was horrible. At one point they said I might have to actually bring her down to the office to prove she was alive-- thank God it didn't go that far.

Rochelle

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I never probated the will . Everything was in our names or at least I thought.. except I found out Mike inherited some mineral rites to land in Texas , but after jumping a few hoops and my sons signing their papers saying all went to me, it became mine. The only other thing is some shares of stock that were in his name. I once contacted the bank about it since they are bank shares (he was an employee there) , they sent me the paper work and I never took care of it because of all the confusing legal mumbo jumbo that might as well been greek. Still need to do that, but the shares have decreased in value to nearly half, lately.

I do have a great deal of credit card debt which I plan to pay off as soon as I can get myself established in a job. I still have my mortgage too. What a lot of people , including me didn't realize is that I'm not entitled to any income from the government until I am 60 , which I will be in a few months. Widowhood sucks. :(

Sue

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I stickied it. Ry this is a great post. It is a shame in this crazy world that one has to struggle after losing a loved one putting affairs in order. I will never forget hearing my boss scream on the phone to someone that her husband passed, he cannot verify that it is ok to talk to her.

Keep the information coming everyone!

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My dad's will was never probated either- since everything was going directly to my mom, we thought- why bother?.

It will take some extra phone calls and paperwork, but it can get all transferred to the survivng spouse.

SUE** You should check to see if any of those credit card debts has insurance (sometimes we have it and don't even know it) Any credit card debt which has that kind of insurance whether its death protection or unemplyment protection, and those debts will either be paid in full or the payments can be put on hold until you receive income from the government on in a job- without jeopardizing your credit standing. It's work a check to see if you've got it.

Good luck every one...It's just so much for all to go thru on top of your grief.

((hugs))

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I actually impersonated my Mom :oops: to turn off the phone once I tangled with the utility company to turn off the internet and trash pick-up. They just asked "is this Ms.Holland?" and I said yes...not a lie!

And her Chase credit card requires a death certificate to cancel it! She didn't owe a balance, it was just a courtesy call on my behalf! I still haven't done that one, I did close all of the rest. Chase actually sent her back a letter after I contacted them addressed to HER sending their regrets on the passing of HER. I'm irritated about that one. :x

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When my dad died years ago, my mom put most of her accounts in joint survivorship with us (her children), instead of just putting it in just her name. Years later, this made life MUCH easier for us. My only problem is that I am listed under my maiden name, so I was hassled (just doing their job, I know...) at the bank. I told them I'd just send my brother in the next day to start the entire process all over again since his name was still the same. They ended up working with me, but made darn sure I appreciated how 'nice' they were being. Bleh.

All of Mom's mail was forwarded to me (nice man at the Post Office helped me out, since I should have had her signature to do it...), so I'm still getting surprises 9 months later, myself.

Kelly

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Chase did the same thing to my mom- sending a condolence letter addressed to HER.

Also, you can check to see if she had some sort of death insurance on her credit card even though there is no balance. I know the credit cards are all different and apparently Chase changed their policies 10 days before my mom died in 2007, so we no longer qualified. But if my mom had signed a "notification" they sent her, she would have qualified for the insurance which would have paid out at her death. (but she couldn't sign it-she had had a stroke and was in the hospital!) Who knew? Doesn't seem fair to me. But they wouldn't budge.

For those who didn't read the fine print and sign that form by their deadline, Chase automatically changed the credit life insurance to temp. unemployment insurance and the monthly surcharge to the credit card stayed the same so no one would really notice. Sneaky little devils for sure.

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Sadly enough, I got mail for my mom and my mother-in-law after they both passed on for 2+ years. For my MIL the mail was all donation stuff. Wanting her to send in her monthly donation. I sent them her forwarding address a few times and then THEY GOT IT! :roll: She use to send a LOT of donations to different outfits. We were pretty shocked when we learned how many she sent too! :shock: May she rest in peace.

I got an ambulance bill for my mom 2 years after she passed away. They will try anything if they can get by with it. Very sad! Stay on top of things and be very careful what you pay out for.

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I use Outlook to manage all of the tasks that I need to accomplish. With "widow brain,” it is very easy for me to lose track of things. So each time another task pops in my head, I add it to my Outlook tasks.

I try to stagger the tasks in order of importance, so I don't have 25 reminders every day. If a task pops up on a day that I'm not emotionally prepared to deal with it, I "snooze" it for a day.

This has helped me to keep things manageable. I still have a few things to take care of, but I feel a sense of accomplishment every time I'm able to check something off the list. Some days I need that little boost to remind myself that I'm not doing so bad after all.

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Hi Rochelle,

Yes, it is indeed overwhelming. You may remember that just 11 days before Bill passed away, his father passed away (also of NSCLC)and Bill was the executor of that estate. Before he had time to do anything, I became responsible for both Bill and his father's estate. Then to add more pain and aggravation, Bill's mother passed away less than three weeks later (also of NSCLC, though we had no idea she had it until post-death) and again...you guessed it...I was responsible for her estate. What a mess, had a checklist been available it would have probably still been a mess, but maybe a more organized mess - is that an oxymoron or what?

Anyway, more than two years later, I still get mail every single day for one of the three of them and tax documents, social security documents, title reminders...it never ends. I have the worst fears that ten years down the road I am going to be subpoened somewhere to prove I did something correctly and have no records, or worse yet...have no recollection of how or why I did it. I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to filing the legal documents correctly; but I still ended up spending a great deal of money to have three separate attorneys handle everything so that there was no conflict of interest. Sitting here right now, I can't even remember which of the three is responsible for Bill's estate....go figure.

Anyway, didn't mean to turn this post into my own personal vent but I must say I feel better now that I've got that out. Good luck Rochelle, I hope you find an easier path thru the paperwork now that Rich has provided this invaluable list! As always, I think of you and the kids often and hope and pray that the days and nights are beginning to get easier.

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I remember doing Heather Saler's walk in NJ after Earl died. I was walking with Kathy Turner who used to be on this board. I was telling her how overwhelmed I was with the 'paperwork' and that I should right a pamphlet for recent 'executors'.

Of course I didn't and now 3 1/2 years later I still have some things that are still in Earl's name. But it is really just procrastination.

I do deposit a check I get quarterly that is in his name, but the bank never questions it - the amount is $ .18.

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I still have credit cards that I haven't changed - just lazy! The only one I still use that has Don's name on it is JC Penney. We had a Sears credit card in joint names. I called repair for service on our lawn tractor and said my husband couldn't do it because he had died. About 2 months later I got a letter in the mail that the credit card was canceled because the primary cardholder was deceased. Had that card for 35 years! I was the one that always paid it. Boy was I ticked!!!!!

Don had some stock options from his company, but they are WAY below the price they were given, so they're worthless, and, like Ginny, I've just procrastinated getting them changed because they want a ton of paperwork.

Love,

Peggy

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  • 1 year later...

My brother just got mom's death certificates in the mail TODAY. Now I can finally start clearing some things. I get collection calls on mom's accounts every day and no matter how many times I tell them she died, and the tell me that as soon as I send them the death certificate they will take the account out of collections and we can negotiate a settlement, they keep calling. And calling. And calling.

And, if anyone is wondering, even death does not get you out of a car lease with Honda Financial Services Corp.

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