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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7170 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7170 Posts

Posted - May 02 2015 :  07:46:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi girls -

Are your affairs in order, and have you recently revisited plans you put in place years ago? I tried to ignore our final affairs as long as possible, to be honest. The mere thought of taking care of business as far as our estate was concerned really didn’t concern me much. Oh, I had taken the required legal classes in college, and I knew some of what needed to be done; but in my head I knew we didn’t have a lot, and with the laws of hereditary succession, it would automatically go to our only son. And, somehow, death, dying and my family’s bereavement seemed so incredibly far off to me. I figured one day when my husband and I were old and gray we would just sit down, iron out the plan and be done with it. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

Then my dad died.

And sister, was I wrong.

Never mind the indescribable pain one suffers when someone so close passes; NOTHING prepares a person’s heart for that kind of pain. You think you can handle it, and then it suddenly hits you out of the blue and leaves your heart feeling like it was just run over by a MAC truck. All you want to do is sleep everything away until you’re strong again, but that’s not happening. And you never really even consider all the responsibilities that come after the person passes: the funeral decisions and expenses, the settling of the estate, etc. I never realized just how complicated it can truly be, and believe me, when you’re still in such deep pain, it’s very hard to remain clear-headed and make sound decisions.

My dad died intestate - without a will. Long story short, through a series of financial transactions that he and my stepmother thought would “be their salvation,” she is now facing the very real prospect of losing her house and a bunch of angry creditors are “coming out of the woodwork” demanding satisfaction. Even though both of them were not well, neither one of them ever took the time to seek the advice of an attorney as to how to protect each other in the event of a death. They made a lot of decisions on their own and pretty much thought things would just fall into place for whoever survived the other. SO not true. Now, my siblings and I, his legal heirs, are being drawn into a legal quagmire that we neither expected nor want. We are trying to help our stepmother, and do the right thing by her, but she is extremely emotional. She might be listening, but she isn’t hearing and processing; she is making all kinds of assumptions and misguided decisions; she trying desperately to handle the legal stuff on her own without representation; and reacting badly because she is in way over her head and emotionally beaten beyond measure, God love and bless her. Her kids are no help; if anything, in their own greed, they stir the pot of their mother’s paranoia. It’s like a horribly bad soap opera, girls. Instead of dealing with level-headed, reasonable people, we’re dealing with indescribable emotional drama that simply need not be. It is heartbreaking and frustrating beyond description. We don’t want anything, we just want to help her and be done with it; but this requires proper legal paperwork and action, and she doesn’t understand. All I want to do right now is crawl under a rock and hide, but that is the last thing I can do. To be quite blunt, because of their irresponsibility, this whole thing is going to cost us “kids” a small, unexpected fortune, as well as a lot of precious time and emotional distress to resolve. My head and my heart hurt.

In light of all of this, my husband and I visited our attorney last week to try to understand what our responsibilities are, as well as to figure out how best to help my stepmother and protect ourselves in the process. After a good hour and one-half of discussion, we turned to the matter of preparing for our own estate settlement should one of us become incapacitated or pass on. We don’t want our son and loved ones going through anything like this when we’re gone. Now, mind you, we have very little – a house, a car, some possessions… no big bank account, no huge insurance plan, no debt; and yet, the meeting continued for another two mind-reeling hours before the attorney suggested we meet again to further discuss our plans. We hadn’t even dipped our toes into the nitty-gritty of it!

SO many things needed to be discussed, many of which we had never considered. Everything was on the table for consideration: my heart condition, my husband’s health issues, our son being only eighteen and what making him Power of Attorney and executor would mean for him. We also learned that, in the State of Pennsylvania, at least, our son can handle all the legal responsibilities, but he is not allowed to receive any property or money or anything until he is twenty-one! We need to set up a trust for him, and designate an executor to oversee it! We had no idea! Further, those little “living will” papers the hospitals used to give out to patients years ago? Insufficient. We need to each designate a Medical Power of Attorney as well as establish advanced directives for medical decisions. And guess what? My husband has a medical issue that may cause him to be deemed unfit to make decisions for me at some point; or worse, may require him to have long term care earlier than most would expect. We were not prepared for any of this. An entirely new, unsettling discussion opened up, that we had never even realized or considered before now. Thank God the attorney pointed it out to us. And it doesn’t end there… There are all sorts of legal issues to decide for which the most uncomfortable discussions need to take place. We discussed everything from insurance issues to long term care to applicable scenarios that we need to consider in making our decisions. “Shocking” and “mind-boggling” are the terms that come to mind. This was definitely a huge wake-up call. We both left the meeting feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The whole time we were sitting there, all I could think was how thankful I am that this did happen with my dad’s estate, because it sure prompted us to do what we need to do to protect ourselves and our son. We honestly had NO IDEA just how complicated things can be. We wouldn’t want our son to have any worries should anything ever happen to us. Sure, he will always have his foster sister and brother, his grandparents, and his aunts and uncles to help guide him; but, man, what a burden for a young person. I can’t imagine what it would be like for him to have to make decisions in an end of life situation, or deal with the legal issues that he would face should we not have a plan in place! And having all those other people to advise him with conflicting opinions and advice – ugh! Our son is very mature, but he would be in absolute distress having to handle all of this at such a tender, young age!

So now the uncomfortable discussions ensue. Decisions are being made and legal documents are being prepared in order to cover all the bases. When the times come and the situations arise, everyone will be protected and provided for, all our desires will be met, and everything will be in legal order, ready to go. Now, the incomprehensible pain will not be compounded a gazillion-fold by a harrowing march through legal matters. Once this is all settled, we’re even going to take care of our funeral and burial arrangements. Our son and family can take a deep breath, and everyone’s hearts and minds can be at peace, because Mom and Dad love them, and have taken care of everything, just as they always have.

I am just sharing this with you because I care about you. I think deep down we all have an idea of what would happen when we die. Truly, though, it’s so much more complicated than I, personally, ever expected. If you don’t have an estate plan in place or an advance directive designated, it’s time. Really: it’s time. And if you established your plans years ago, please make a point of reviewing them every now and then. A lot changes in just a year’s time, let alone over many years. You might be extremely surprised to find out all the new things that need to be considered because your health and life situation has changed. We all want the best for our loved ones, and we all do what we can to ensure their well-being. Estate planning should be one of the top priorities on our to-do lists, for sure.

Hugs and love –

Nini



Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!


Edited by - Ninibini on May 02 2015 09:05:32 AM

YellowRose
True Blue Farmgirl

5249 Posts

Sara
Paris TX
USA
5249 Posts

Posted - May 02 2015 :  08:27:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nina so sorry you have to go through all the drama and hassle.

Reminded me to get my will done. I own everything, have no debts, but I know it can be caught up in court for a long time without a will.

Have a blessed day, Sara
FarmGirl Sister #6034 8/25/14

Lord put your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth.
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7170 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7170 Posts

Posted - May 02 2015 :  09:11:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you so much, Sara. We just had no idea. Dad may not have left behind silver and gold, but his cloud definitely has the blessing of a silver lining. I think what we're learning from this whole experience is more valuable than any money or possessions; it's helping us to prepare and protect those we love. And I really have learned so much that I felt it needed to be shared. I know there are many more people out there like you and me who love and care deeply, but are just not prepared. Now we all have food for thought and can proceed accordingly! <Thanks, Dad!> :) Love and hugs - Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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Dapple Grey Lady
True Blue Farmgirl

670 Posts

Betty
Goodrich Texas
USA
670 Posts

Posted - May 02 2015 :  3:39:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Nini for the information and so sorry for your loss. A great help and something we need to do ourelves. We needed that "nudge" to go ahead and get it done. And something else to consider are the inheritance fees to keep property my hubby said. One of his friends had to pay an enormous fee to just keep his fathers place.

~ Betty ~
Farmgirl Sister # 5589

Edited by - Dapple Grey Lady on May 02 2015 3:39:40 PM
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Audra Rose
True Blue Farmgirl

1332 Posts

Vanessa
Brooksville KY
USA
1332 Posts

Posted - May 03 2015 :  05:24:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My husband's dad was a similar object lesson for us. He was a lovely man, a former pastor, but he had no retirement fund and passed away without a will. My husband and I have taken his situation to heart and are stashing away for our retirement.
That said, our wills are dated, and we should update them too.
Thank you for your post, and my condolences for the loss of your daddy.

Doxie Mom - Everyone loves a Weiner!

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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cajungal
True Blue Farmgirl

2348 Posts

Catherine Farmgirl Sister #76
Houston Area Texas
2348 Posts

Posted - May 03 2015 :  8:11:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nini, you explained everything so very well and thoroughly.

2 years prior to my mom getting sick and passing, she and I got all that paperwork handled. I am so grateful that we were able to discuss such grim matters in a logical manner. While decision making was still emotional and difficult, I had little problems or obstacles because the legal papers had all been done.

I have urged my friends to take care of these matters while their parents are still of a sound mind and body. Sadly, one friend of mine is facing losing the home they and their family live in. They moved in with their ill mother to take care of her. The mom passed. They did not have any of these important forms written out. The home was in the mom's name, there was no will, no medical nor financial POA (power of attorney). The creditors are putting liens on the home and demanding the home be sold for bills to be paid. It breaks my heart to see my friend deal with this.

For those of you wanting to do some planning, here are some things to consider....
--bank accounts-- authorized signers, rights of survivorship. Easy to handle at the bank. Simply fill out the forms.
--vehicles-- rights of survivorship, beneficiary. Some titles allow this to be stated on the title.
--home-- be aware that various bills/debts can attach liens on the home and affect the beneficiary. Educate yourself on the many aspects of this.
--power of attorney-- "POA" There are 2 main types, medical POA and financial POA. You can designate just one or both.
--living will-- This form should be one that is not provided by the hospital. A lawyer can write one up. There are some basic items covered about the care that you wish to have or not have. Your medical POA should be given a copy of this.
--DNR-- "Do Not Resuscitate" This is separate from the living will. If you desire that you not be resuscitated in the case of emergency, you must have this form filled out. This form specifies no life support measures, etc... Your medical POA should be given a copy of this.
--financial POA-- You need to trust this person. While you intend for them to have the authority to handle financial affairs after your passing, in some cases, they can use that POA to do things while you are living. You don't want to assign someone this authority that would go out and buy a new car in your name with your bank account money.
--will-- You need to be specific in what you want to happen with your 'things'. Specify who gets what.
--life insurance-- make sure your beneficiary is specified
--annuities, ira, social security, etc...-- all of these have their own requirements for specifying beneficiary.

You should have a folder or binder that has all this information in it. The beneficiary or the executor of the will needs to have all this information for quick access.

A lawyer can handle these items and will cost from $500-$1000. If you think you have a simple estate, you can do these forms on Legalzoom.com You need to find out if your state requires the forms to be filed.


Catherine
Sister #76 (2005)
One of the best compliments from one of my daughters: "Moma, you smell good...like dirt.

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Cindy Lou
True Blue Farmgirl

2325 Posts

Susan
Lonsdale MN
USA
2325 Posts

Posted - May 04 2015 :  01:41:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm sorry you have to go through this Nini, but thank you for sharing this very serious reminder with us. We all want to think we and those we love, will live for ever, and that everything will always work out fine, but that is not the case!

A friend recently recommended a book, saying how much she wished she had read it before her mother's extended illness and passing. It is "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande. It deals with many things we never, or seldom, consider with medical decisions, quality of life issues, and other things that are often not considered. I haven't gotten around to getting it, but your messages here remind me that the more we know, the better. She said it's not a quick read, so much to think about, for those you love as well as yourself. Consider checking on this.

We went through a messy situation that started with the WRONG person designated as executor, years before, and then, when Mom's serious illness came on suddenly eight years after Dad passed, she had no time to change that. Even when you think things are settled be sure to revisit it and check things out every few years, new situations develop.

Susan

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Mary Oliver

Edited by - Cindy Lou on May 04 2015 01:42:44 AM
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7170 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7170 Posts

Posted - May 04 2015 :  6:55:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you, girls... I appreciate your support, and that you're sharing your stories, knowledge and wisdom. :) All of these issues are really important considerations. And Susan - I really want to read that book! Maybe this summer! Thank you for the recommendation! Hugs - Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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Bonnie Ellis
True Blue Farmgirl

2473 Posts

Bonnie
Minneapolis Minnesota
USA
2473 Posts

Posted - May 04 2015 :  8:25:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nini: I am so sorry for your loss but grateful you gave us all important prompts of many things to take care of while you still can. God bless you.

grandmother and orphan farmgirl
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ddmashayekhi
True Blue Farmgirl

4258 Posts

Dawn
Naperville Illinois
USA
4258 Posts

Posted - May 05 2015 :  06:08:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm so very sorry for your loss Nini. I lost both my parents 3.5 years ago. They died 10 weeks apart. Fortunately they had an attorney do all the paperwork ahead of time, leaving me in charge of everything as their sole successor trustee. Unfortunately my siblings did everything to get them to change it in their favor, especially my brother. He hounded both my parents until their deaths. Being the only son he felt entitled to everything and it was a rude awakening for him that he wasn't. Thankfully I did everything by the book despite threats, ugly letters from the brother's lawyer and the swiping of everything my sister could get her hands on. The aftermath was horrible and draining for me. I never got a chance to mourn my parents thanks to the siblings greed and interference. My parents chose me because they said "you are the only one we can trust." It was a huge burden and responsibility being left in charge, but I did everything precisely how my parents dictated in their trust. Their grandchildren were included in the trust, something that made the brother scream his head off, to no avail. Had I not been in charge, the siblings would have found a way to cheat the grandkids, 3 are mine and 1 my sister's, not to mention hide as much as they could for themselves.

Being put in charge of a trust or estate is a enormous responsibility and burden for that person, especially if other heirs are involved. It is best to take that person with you for a meeting with the attorney to explain all their responsibilities to them. My parents didn't do that and they forgot half of what they had set up in different accounts. I had to put together a puzzle that I had no clue what it looked like in the end. Somehow I managed to get everything for the trust plus sell their 2 properties. It was the worst time of my life.

I have not see my so called brother again since. I've seen my sister once at her daughter's baby shower. That has been it. I feel my life and my families is much better off without them. Sad, but true. Once a person has set up their estate or trust, they need to let the heirs know exactly how things stand and make sure they aware that this is their wishes. That they are not to beat up and attack the trustee(s) who have been put in charge. Sadly I've seen this happen many times with other families and though it was within my siblings characters to act like they did I was still shocked and devastated by their behavior.

Good luck getting everything taken care of. It is a long and unpleasant road, but worth doing for those you love.

Dawn in IL
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Bear5
True Blue Farmgirl

13055 Posts


Louisiana/Texas
USA
13055 Posts

Posted - May 06 2015 :  11:49:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nini, so sorry for your loss. Thanks for the information. Hugs to you.
Marly

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." Elisabeth Kurler-Ross
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7170 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7170 Posts

Posted - May 06 2015 :  3:02:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you, girls... Hugs and love right back to all of you. I'm really okay, don't worry. I just really, really wanted to bring this to everyone's attention because it's just so, so important. "Someday" has a way of coming around and hitting us right when we least expect it, doesn't it? This is a BIG someday to think about, one that many people put off. I don't want any of you or your loved ones to go through anything like what we're experiencing with my stepmother, and I sure wish she wasn't going through it, either. Losing my dad has been extremely rough on everyone. This has been quite an unanticipated blow, to be sure. Hugs - Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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Bear5
True Blue Farmgirl

13055 Posts


Louisiana/Texas
USA
13055 Posts

Posted - Jul 23 2015 :  2:03:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nini, just thinking of you. Hugs.
Marly

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." Elisabeth Kurler-Ross
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CeliaGingerich
Farmgirl at Heart

4 Posts

Celia
Marietta GU
USA
4 Posts

Posted - Mar 24 2017 :  11:15:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A lawyer can well judge your case. take the help..
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RaynaFadden
Farmgirl at Heart

3 Posts

Rayna
Atlanta GU
USA
3 Posts

Posted - Apr 02 2017 :  9:18:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi. I hope that I am not too late in providing you a solution. A lawyer can handle such things. The attorney's know the law well, so they can solve this in an easy way. A research shows about lawyers like James Moore, Bechara Tarabay, Sharon Williams and many more qualified and experienced lawyers. I think this website http://www.pagesjaunes.fr/pros/05241146 will help you to know about the lawyer who can solve your issues in a better way.
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Dreamer42
True Blue Farmgirl

1355 Posts

April
Central Oregon
USA
1355 Posts

Posted - May 11 2017 :  8:40:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Love and prayers to you, Nini.

Dreamer42
Farmgirl Sister #7038
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7170 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7170 Posts

Posted - May 26 2017 :  8:01:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi girls - Thank you for your concern and suggestions... Don't worry, I'm on it. This was actually posted a couple of years ago because at the time I had no idea just how complicated this whole thing really is. It's definitely NOT something you want to deal with when you're in the midst of grieving and trying to piece your life together. I just really wanted to drive home the importance of taking care of your affairs ahead of time. Nobody likes the thought of it, to be sure, but it sure gives you peace of mind when it's all formalized and legal. God bless you all for sharing your thoughts and concerns. Love right back each of you! :) Hugs - Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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