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My Wife (10-29-05) ....3 years ago today

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A couple more pointers I forgot...

  • Prior to settling the estate you must FIRST pay the funeral home and be able to prove it of course (at least for Ohio) - this is the dumbest thing I've heard of - but true.
  • If you will be helping your parents/spouse/family member with their estate, I suggest having your name put on the account. If not, you will likely have to go through the whole probate process before you can use this account to even pay their bills with their money (high lord gomer mentioned this too) - check with your accountant/attorney or other legal rep to get the actual details for your state - THIS is VERY important if you plan to access their funds. This also applies if you are helping with their bills
  • Try to avoid probate, I forget what the exact rules are an probably vary by state anyway. But I think it is a ratio of outstanding debt vs. assets that require this process. (I didn't have to go into probate for Amy's estate settlement thankfully)

If I think of more I'll keep posting them.

Joel

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I'll add one... <_<

If your relative/spouse has specific collectors or hobby items that you know nothing about, make sure that they've got current appraisals, etc on those items (updated maybe at least every decade, or more often?). If they don't, and you have someone in the family that knows something about those items, tap their experience. Trust no one - as soon as someone outside the circle finds out they're dealing with an estate, they will rip you off.

Ask me how 80% of my grandfather's firearms collection took a walk after he died <_<

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It may sound strange but after my father died one of the hardest things I had to do was erase his phone number from my cell phone. It made me think how I would never talk to him again. It has been 7 years and I am crying again thinking about it.

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It may sound strange but after my father died one of the hardest things I had to do was erase his phone number from my cell phone. It made me think how I would never talk to him again. It has been 7 years and I am crying again thinking about it.

That is a tough one. My wife's name was Amy - I hit it once while trying to call a friend Bill. I almost crashed trying to get that call cancelled...but it is still in there to this day.

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Joel, thank you for this thread. It helped me this past week in dealing with the loss of my Mom.

Things I've learned this past week, some of which have already been covered.

Good things to say:

- I'm sorry for your loss.

- I loved your mother...she was my friend...she helped me this one time...

- Is there anything I can help you with during this time? (mention specifics - take care of plants/pets, run any errands, make any calls - of course, be prepared to follow through.)

Bad things to say:

- How are you doing?

- I know how you feel.

- It will be alright.

Other thoughts in no particular order.

- Have all of your insurance policies documented for your loved ones. Company, policy number, contact info.

- Keep important documents together, in a safe place. Maybe a safe deposit box, but make sure a trusted relative has a key. Keep copies of the documents at home and make sure someone else knows where they are.

- You can get a better deal buying flowers outside of the funeral home. All of their prices are high. Buy as little from them as you can.

- If you are a veteran and plan to be buried in a military cemetery, you MUST have form DD-214. It takes days/weeks to get. Get it now.

- People grieve in different ways. Some close up. Some get angry. Cut everyone in your family and circle of friends some slack. Hopefully they do the same for you.

- Have as few people in the funeral planner's office as possible. Some family will insist on being there. More is not better. Closest immediate family only. Politely ask extended family to do other tasks.

- You will cry lots, often unexpectedly. Something someone says, something you see or hear...anything can be a trigger. If you're driving, pull over.

- Hugs can be better than words.

- Be as open as you can at a viewing/wake. Walk around and talk to people and hear some of the stories of how your loved one touched the lives of others. It helps.

- You will hurt. Emotionally and physically. Stress weakens your body. Take a multi-vitamin and lots of vitamin C. I got bronchitis.

- Try to eat regularly. You won't feel like it, but your body needs it.

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It was hard for me to even read some of these and I don't even know any of you or your loved ones. You folks are strong and have my prayers. As painful it it to read all these posts... it makes me realize I need to appreciate things more. Thanks.

Edited by lugnut

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The wife of my biggest, long-term photo clients dropped dead suddenly (and wholly unexpectedly) one day a couple of months ago and we were all stunned speechless. The decedent's survivors invited all family, friends, associates, clients (they were a major local building contractor) to a 'remembrance' event at their home where the deceased's employer fully catered an enormous food buffet and her adult kids all gave presentations... and guests were allowed to make presentations or speak a few words as well. It was both touching and pleasant.

The family assembled a computerized slide show of family events set up to view on the TV, printed dozens of photos of the deceased and family events for the guests to take home with them(!), and set up two or three huge bulletin boards with many of these photos attached to them for guests to view and chat about.

It was the very best thing that could've happened for this kind of occurrence. A party for closure. A wake in the 'casual' Eugene style. A lovely summer day. The family did the right thing, and everyone (and I mean everyone!) was in the loop. It was also an event based on modern technology--everyone was E-MAILED with the news and the invitation to participate was issued similarly.

Importantly, some of the things people SAID were interesting and revealing about the relationship this woman had with the dozens and dozens of people she interacted with each day. What a terrible, premature loss. But we went away feeling OK about it, based on the revelations and remarkable guest list that participated.

I, too, had to figure out what were the "right" things to say. I can only hope I said the right things.

Death teaches us so very much about Life.

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Joel, thank you for this thread. It helped me this past week in dealing with the loss of my Mom.

I'm very glad this was of some help.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and observations with us too...truly.

I like this one too - - "Hugs can be better than words."

Our thoughts are still with you as you continue with this journey.

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Many of us have lost someone we love dearly. I can somewhat grasp the feeling of aloneness and how time (to me anyway) seems to be the only thing that makes it easier. My wife of 22 years is my closest friend and the thought of losing her or one of my children is almost unbearable. I am truly sorry for the loses suffered and am much grateful for the info provided. May God bless and comfort you.

Howard

Edited by flagaman

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Joel-

Than you for posting this, and thanks to Linda Chico, Mike Nyland, AustinMike and others for adding to it. A good friend of mine from work is dying of cancer (the doc's have given him one-two months), and will leave behind a wife and two very young children. When I last visited him I told him that I and the rest of his friends would be there to help his soon-to-be widow (who I have only met once), but I really didn't have a good sense of what we could/should do. Your post, and the string that followed seem like a good place to start (someone mentioned printing it and putting it with their important/emergency papers).

When I talked to my friend he asked me about things at work, to which I replied "Are you still able to do some of the things you enjoy, like working on your hobby (cars), playing with your kids, being with your wife?" and when he said yes I told him "Then that is what you should be doing with your time; not worrying about work when you're not there, or doing things that your don't enjoy" and he said "That sounds like good advice for anyone, even you."

Thanks again for the post.

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Thanks Brian for this very cool community!

And thank you Joel for incredibly inspiring post.

Regards,

Brian

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Make sure your family KNOWS what you want. This means having a will that's current and a living will. I know what my Mom wants, knew what Dad wanted before he died, and I know how my in laws want things to be in various circumstances.

This is a heck of a thread. Thanks to all who have posted here.

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Another follow-up...

...sometimes IT is like a scab that has partially healed...and gets ripped open out of the blue...the wound is different than it was at first - but it can still really hurt.

Just so you know...

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"anniversary" bump...

Thanks to all who've contributed to this thread.

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Hope you're doing alright and thanks for checking in. It really helps to know that others still struggle with sorrow over time. Nobody will say it, but sometimes I feel like people look at me as if to say, "you're STILL not over that?" You have to lose someone really close to you to understand the extent of the grief. Your thread is a help to me after losing Mom last year. The first year, getting through all the "firsts" is especially hard. Yesterday was my first birthday without her.

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One bit to add.

Don't automaticly trust your parents friends to do the right thing, just because they were friends.

An old boss's son called me up a few months after the death for some help with the gun collection. His fathers long time "best buddy" had just about raped and pillaged the collection, stealing outright some items. Because the friend had used the old mans place to reload, he had the combination to the gun room.

This "best buddy" was supposed to help out the son, but instead lined his own pockets.

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Thank you for posting this. You just reminded me that now that I am full time LE, I *really* need to get my will and estate in order. You never know how what you do will affect people in this world.

A

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Joel,

... I pause in response because I'm sad for you and I know you didn't intend that to happen. I'm glad to see you still hold your wife dear to your heart and are working on continuing your life, I'm sure she would want that for you!

I'll miss Oxford because I blew out a calf muscle last weekend at MRPC, but hope to see you at M'Burg.

Thoughts and prayers,

Pez

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Wow! This is an incredibly moving thread!

If you don't mind, Joel, I would like to e-mail this to friends and family....it is truly fantastic advice and made my eyes water up a bit.

Truly sorry for all of the losses on here, I have yet to lose anybody but I know it's coming.

I, too, will print this out for future reference.

Thanks so much to all who have posted up the lessons to be learned.

-Clay-

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Get a good estate lawyer. You need much more than just a will if you have any net worth at all. Yes it is expensive, but it is the least costly thing you can do. THis is especially important if you are in a multi-generational family business. If Mom and Dad own the business you need to have trusts set up so that you can skip a tax bite. One may pass many years before the other and the trust will protect many years of appreciation. failure to do this planning can bankrupt your business.

If you set up a proper estate you will still suffer, you will still grieve you will still hurt, but you will not have to deal with losing everything to the government. Your business may have a much higher value than what it will sell for, the government will tax yo on the value, not what you can sell it for in short order. And failure to plan properly will have you selling off your life to pay the taxes.

All the rest that has been said here applies. In laws can become outlaws. "Friends' can turn. 'Step' relatives, second wives or husbands can make life miserable even if all the paperwork is in order. No details here, but this is firsthand knowledge.

Joel's first post should be required reading for everyone.

Joel, thank you for sharing.

Jim

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Joel,

I have spent most of the day unable to even open this thread because I simply can not imagine my life without Leslie. Part of the training in my religion/philosophy is to imagine the passing of all those we love. I still can't do this with Leslie and I can not imagine the loss you must have felt. Thank you for sharing such a great post. I commend you for your strength and willingness to share the process with all of us.

I think I am going to go sit on the couch next to the most amazing woman in the world as soon as the tears stop rolling.

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Holidays suck. I thought I'd just say it here for everyone who has lost.

2010 will bring many "firsts" for many people this year.

Never give up, never forget.

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Last year, I was still in shock and just kind of numb over the holidays. This year the holidays seem harder. Reality has long set in and there is no doubt it wasn't all just a really bad dream. Hang in there, man. "Holidays suck" kind of covers it; I can't think of anything more profound to say. All I can think to do is just be there for the family I have left.

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Holidays suck. I thought I'd just say it here for everyone who has lost.

2010 will bring many "firsts" for many people this year.

Never give up, never forget.

I hope anyone who is going through what you did finds this topic. Thank you for having the strength to share what you have learned from this. I wanted to send you a PM, but in light of the fact that you shared.... The only way to defeat cancer is to unite where it seeks to divide. I have lost much of my family, and a few close friends to the disease.

Last year at this time, My Mom was admitted into a small Kansas hospital suffering from COPD and Atrial Fib. They gave her drugs and cookies, and were nice to her; and released her for Christmas with a relatively clean bill of health.... The end of May of this year, she went to another Doctor who ordered the Xrays from her "holiday 09" visit to the hospital. She showed the films to my Mom, (who was an RN with radiology, CT and other certs) if she saw anything on the 5 month old films. My Mom answered that she saw a classic asymetrical cancer tumor in the lung..... The initial doctor and radiologist obviously missed something that was unmistakeable. Further evaluation found that the lung cancer was not the primary cancer, but had matastisized from somewhere else; probably the pancreas; and it was too far along at that point to warrant testing or treatment. The lung tumor had grown through the chest wall and was now a large lump under her skin. After 3 months of fighting it, My Mom finally got her rest. I was lucky to be unemployed at the time, and was able to make 2 extended trips to be with her. The time I got to spend with her was priceless to me, and from what I've heard since, was priceless to her as well. I can only imagine how strong she had to be to deal with the hopelesness of this whole situation, and I had no idea that I had helped at all.

I can't imagine loosing my wife, so I can't pretend to know how you feel. But Christmas has been known to heal wounds. Resist the temptation to be alone for introspection, and spend as much time as you can with people, even people you barely know.... Don't do it for yourself, but for them. Things will get better, perhaps not as fast as we want them too, but they will. And I hope you can take some comfort that somebody you never met is praying for you, Brother!

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