Never Say Die

28 Jun

My mother is going to be the death of me.

Do us all a favor. Make sure you have a will. I don’t care how little or how much you have – make a will. My mother refused to do so, on the grounds that it was just a money-making scheme dreamed up by “crooked lawyers” (a redundancy in her book) and she was quite certain that a) she was going to die of a heart attack before she was 80, and b) my sister and I would share the money equally. Since she was going to die of a heart attack, there was no reason to have a Power of Attorney or put one of us on the account as a co-signer. Lynn and I had worked out a plan of what we would do, and who would get what, and all seemed to be well.

Except – my mom slipped into dementia and died at 90, never knowing my sister died long before her of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). I had a very difficult time handling her money when she was alive. The nursing home didn’t have a notary, and the banks wouldn’t accept anything she signed because they didn’t know either of us, and she was obviously not in her right mind. Fortunately, I have a cousin who is a lawyer, and he went over with us and had my mom sign the proper papers to give me a POA and the notarized them for us. She’d known Ron all his life, and he introduced himself to her. “You remember me, Aunt Audrey”, and mentioned his parents. She nodded, and signed the papers, and after he left, she turned to me and asked who he was. “Never saw him before in my life, and I don’t know who those people were he was talking about.”

No problems when she died – other than putting her in the wrong grave, of course – but now it is time to close out the estate account and get this project wrapped up. I couldn’t find one of her bank statements, and the folks in Customer Service refused to send it to me, even though my name was on the account as POA. “That died with her, and the fact that you are her personal representative on the estate account no longer has anything to do with the old one.”  I finally drove to the local branch, showed the lady that I had every statement from the last two years, and she said she would try to help me.  She got the same story from Customer Service.

Well, to make a long story short (too late, I know!) the rep who had opened the estate account had not faxed the death certificate or the Personal Rep paperwork. “We’ll just find it and send it out.” So a frantic search of the files ensued. Nothing under my mom’s last name. Cute. And then somebody noticed a huge file in the “E’s”. All of the estate accounts were filed under “E”.  Fortunately, within that folder they were under the last name, and there in the “P’s” was my mom’s paperwork. One of the clerks said it was like the old joke about the blond secretary who filed everything under “T” – The Smith Company, The Roger’s Drugstore.

One more week ought to do it. I hope!

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