Death - What To Do Next?

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by jonesing, Aug 17, 2001.

  1. jonesing

    jonesing Well-Known Member

    It is about 11:30pm Friday and in 5 hours I will have been up for 24 hours straight. About 4:15am this morning my fiancee got an urgent phone call from her life-long best friend/sister who still lives in her childhood home behind my fiancee's parents' house---which was on fire.

    We rushed over only to find the entire block filled with fire trucks, police and an arson investigation team. Her dad got out okay because he was downstairs. Her mom was upstairs in the bedroom. It was very difficult for the firefighters to get to her, several were overcome by smoke, I could hear their O2 bottle alarms going off when they came out of the house, and one firefighter fell off the roof. Her mom died before they could reach her. The initial cause of the fire is a defective toaster which ignited the cupboards and then the whole kitchen (this house is about 90 years old and all wood).

    We have been holding up really well however her dad is very disoriented right now. He's going to live at our place for the time being so we can be sure that he's safe and taking his diabetes medication.

    Her mom *might* have a will but since the house is all but a total loss, we can't really be sure. The state fire marshall released the house to the insurance company (AARP) and they in turn have had it boarded up and padlocked. We're going over tomorrow to see what is salvageable--I was there this afternoon and it appears that her entire set of collectible glass figures from Dept 56 and some specially made porcelin appears to be fine since they were in sturdy china hutches in the dining room. We haven't found a will but did find several bank statements for her (seperately) and joint accounts.

    What I'd like to know, especially from those who have had to deal with this--both my fiancee and I are only children--is what to do next with regards to financial arrangements? A friend suggested we get a power of attorney from her dad and go to the banks where her mom has individual accounts, close them and move the funds into a new joint account with my fiancee and her dad. He said this would prevent some of her other relatives from trying to horn in on her mom's assets (it's been done before with her uncle).

    Is there anything else we should be looking to take care of on Saturday? Some bank offices are open but places like Social Security and DMV to get her dad a new DL are not. I'm not sure about their credit card situation, they do have AMEX and a Visa or two, I'll check more in to that tomorrow.

    Thank you all for listening, please post here or if you have something sensitive, you can email me.
  2. NanaC

    NanaC Well-Known Member

    Oh, I am so very, very sorry! All my prayers and thoughts will be with you over the next days and all that follow!

    I only wish I could help you with an answer..I know you don't need to be searching for this and I'm sure someone father's death was fairly easily handled financially and it all just stayed with Mom....I'm an only child, as well.

    We are here for you, please don't hestitate to write if you need moral support, too.
  3. MiamiBlues

    MiamiBlues Well-Known Member


    My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. I wish I could offer you some advice but I can't. Again, I am very sorry.

  4. jonesing

    jonesing Well-Known Member

    Thank you so's been a rough first day because we had to get her dad situated with new clothes and everything. The insurance adjuster says they will have a check Fedex'ed here by noon Saturday to help get him going with new meds, clothes etc.

    The irony to all this is that my fiancee was saying that she and her mom planned all the arrangements for her dad sometime last year. His plot was picked out and everything...

    Well I'm going to head off to bed now. I got a listing of their currents banks with branches that are open on Saturday and one or two possibles for the new bank--one even has Sunday hours. Again, thanks very much.
  5. Reshod

    Reshod Well-Known Member

    I send my deepest regards to you and your loved ones. You will be in my prayers!!
  6. godaddyo

    godaddyo Well-Known Member

    Times like these are tough. It may be a very good time to talk to an attorney who specializes in asset protection and financial matters such as wills...

    God Bless,
  7. river

    river Well-Known Member

    I would like to give my sympathy and would recommend for the "moment" that you devote as much attention to your fiancee and her father with the preperations of their wife and mother. This will be when they will need you the most. When done and the shock has worn off maybe father can tell you if they had a safe or fire proof lockbox or safe deposit box at bank. It's really hard to focus on these things when something unexpected happens,especially when a death is the result. Forget the greed that those family members feel they need to justify and remember that a life was lost here and when all is done and over with, "the pain becomes a reality" that must be dealt with. This family needs you "now" and the best recollection this family will have when all is done also,is: you being there beside them all the way during their recovery.Best regards to your fiancees' lost and you.
  8. Becky

    Becky Well-Known Member

    So sorry for your new family's loss. It is devasting enough when it is expected, but I know how much worse it is when it is not.

    The time they will need you the most is after the services. When the rest of your families & friends have gone back to their lives. You are all alone.

    As to finacial arrangments. From my experiance & I have all ready been there twice. I do know that the minute the banks find out of her death they will freeze all assests. Not only of her seperate accounts, but if the joints read "and" between her & her husbands. They will frezee those to until probate. Which can be months.

    The banks have someone that reads the obituaries every morning. That's how they know so fast.

    Try & find out if she had a lawyer that may have drawen up a will. Try to get a hold of him this weekend. More then likely her husband would be the administrator. He can sign over temporary Power of Attorney to your fiance.

    Again I feel for you & know God is also with you at this time. Take care.

  9. tom65432

    tom65432 Well-Known Member

    First, do not worry about greedy relatives.

    Try to find an attorney who did the will. He/she will have at least a copy. If you cannot find the will, all states have laws saying who gets the property of a deceased when there is no will. The general rule is that the surviving spouse gets it unless there are minor children. There may be some exceptions, but it is unlikely any relatives other than the surviving spouse will get anything.
  10. jonesing

    jonesing Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for your kind wishes, I will relay them on. We managed to get into the house after the fire marshal released it to the insurance company. The ins co had it boarded up, padlocked it and left us a key with the neighbors. We retrieved their lockbox which has intact and found some good infoâ?¦important papers and old bank statements which led to a retirement account in her momâ??s name.

    We also found his original birth certificate and marriage license so that will help in establishing his new identityâ?¦he needs to replace his DL, SS card, a credit card or two and get new keys for both cars. Arrangements were made Friday afternoon and donâ??t you know when we stopped back by their house (itâ??s 3 blocks from the funeral home) there was a newspaper reporter and photographer there! Ugh! My fiancée (AJ) was really pissed when this woman got in her face and started asking how she felt and how did the fire start. FYI The fire marshal ruled it electrical malfunction in the toasterâ?¦

    So we go up to the house today and I stop at Wawa to get some sandwiches and drinks and guess whatâ??s on the top of the front page? An article about the fire and a picture of the remains of the house with neighbors in front!!! Grrrrr anyway AJ was pissed but she was happy because they got the street designation wrong, not that it mattered because we heard that looky loos were driving up the road all day. Good thing they were gone by the time we got there. We managed to find more important papersâ??still no willâ??but guess what? A very valuable collection of Carnival glass was in a china hutch and was still in perfect condition!!! Most of her collectible figurines that were in cases or some kind of bureau were all intact and in perfect condition. So was the Leica camera, a bunch of family pictures from WWI and a few of her dadâ??s prized toy trains from the 1930â??s. All in all we managed to salvage quite a bit of nostalgia and some irreplaceable documents.

    So we found out more about their financial make-up and will be going to a couple of the banks that have Sunday hours to do an end-run around certain bottom-feeder relatives who are looking to cash in on this situation. This isn't a community property state so the concern is over one or two relatives who have buddies in low places--lets just say she went to the hospital when AJ's dad had his second heart attack and tried to set herself up as his "guardian" because his wife was "abusive and isn't going to look after him" etc....she almost got him declared incapable of handling his affairs and she would have siphoned off a lot of stuff! Yes, she's that low.

    BTW the funeral home said there are several ways of taking care of paying for the arrangementsâ??cash, check, credit cards and *financing*!!! Yes, your friends at MBNA will approve you (Iâ??m assuming everyone gets approved) for financing of funeral expenses. Terms? No payment due for 90 days, 14.5% interest starts on day of funeral, payment term for 5 years with no prepayment penalty. I didnâ??t ask if they *really* pull a credit report or what. We opted for this route since it wonâ??t tie up his cash and it can all be paid off in 45 days when the ins co check arrives. So, dying is an expensive proposition! Allow me to jump on my high horse and plead with everyone to at least make sure your wishes are known for things like thisâ??burial, cremation, flowers or not etc. And be sure to have a will and TELL someone where it can be found if not at your attorneyâ??s office.

    Again, thank you all for your kind wishesâ?¦until next time.
  11. NanaC

    NanaC Well-Known Member

    jonesing: I'm very happy to hear that there were some salvageable items. I'm sure those will be priceless as the healing from this tragedy starts to take place. I'm glad, also, that the financial end looks to be coming together. After my Dad died, well, I can't even imagine what I would have done had their been financial concerns and issues like you mentioned. Your family certainly doesn't need extra burdens right now.

    I'm sorry about the media..that has got to be tough.

    You just hang in there and keep us informed. Again, give your family my heartfelt sympathy, we are thinking of all of you.
  12. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    So sorry to hear of your loss. What a devastating way to lose a loved one.

    Be sure to check for insurance policies. When you go through the papers and bank statements, look for premium payments and correspondence (on policies that may be old, paid up, etc.) even lapsed policies often have some death benefit remaining. Also, many companies give a small life insurance policy as a retirement benefit, so if you found a reitrement account from an employer, check for life insurance there also.

    I know exactly what you are talking about with bottom-feeding relations - I have often had to deal with them, as an insurance agent, trying to find out information they have no right to ask about.

    After my husband died, even his old "friends" came around and went into the garage to take his tools and supplies - people I never dreamed would act that way. I had to padlock everything.

  13. marci

    marci Well-Known Member


    Please accept my condolences to you and your family. I can't offer advice re the attorney, but I am praying for you all...
  14. Cyprigirl

    Cyprigirl Well-Known Member


    I wish the best regards to your friend and her family.

    With you and your fiancee at her side helping her to get things straightened out, I am sure it will work out for the best.

    Take care!

  15. Donna

    Donna Well-Known Member


    I'm so sorry for your loss. Please know you'll be in my thoughts and prayers.


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