Things I'm Learning About Handling Death Issues
Or, why I've been away from public lists for a bit. Mom passed last week. She was 87, and while not unexpected, she passed sooner than we thought she would.
In the wake of her passing, I'm learning a lot about how to deal with things post-death of a loved one.
1. Having a will makes things much easier.
Mom and Dad both had wills. Dying without a will makes things harder to deal with managing the estate.
2. After Death Wishes
Parents should give their adult children guidance about what to do after they pass, from burial / cremation to type of service, and other details. Also, if there are heirlooms or other items to go to specific survivors, they should be documented and appended to the will. Won't be an issue with Mom's stuff, but I've seen it be a problem with other families.
For me, at the end of the service, I want them to play "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life of Brian.
3. Advanced Medical Directive
When Dad was first ill in 2011, he had their attorney draw up an advanced medical directive for him and Mom. Having this made it easy (mechanically) to do what needed to be done about her care.
4. Durable Power of Attorney
Dad also set up durable power of attorney for Mom, allowing my brother and I to manage Mom's assets after Dad passed. Our sister lived with Mom on and off and took care of her until she passed, but isn't great about managing her own money. So, when our sister said Mom needed money, any movement of investments had to go through my brother or I to be approved before it was moved.
5. Set Aside Assets for Funeral
My sister called the bank to ask whether there was a beneficiary for Mom's checking account. The bank learned she had passed, and locked down her accounts pending the will being probated. So, the children had to scramble to get the deposit money for the funeral. If there was money set aside (in a trust, it would seem), handling that part would be easier.
6. Listen to your gut
After seeing Mom in hospice, a week ago Sunday, I was at work on Wednesday and mid-morning got a gut feeling that I needed to go see her. So, I did that. Mom passed early the next day.
7. Hear Something, Say Something...
Talking to one of Mom's long time friends after her passing (the friend was on the cemetery board of where Mom will be buried; Dad was on that board before he passed), the friend said that Mom had said several times recently that she "just wished I'd die already."
Would have been nice to know Mom was feeling so bad... we could have gotten her some help long before she got to that point.