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Preparing for the inevitable - when shit gets real.

3lwap03lwap0 Registered User regular
I debated posting this with an alt, but eh, fuck it.

Pull up a chair, let me tell you a quick story.

Nine years ago my mother re-married a fella, who at the time was a foreign national, from middle east sandy climates. It was one of those 'met on the Internet' kinds of things, and while I wasn't crazy about it, if Mom was happy, I was happy. She'd been single the whole duration of raising me as a single mom, and I was glad for her. The guy she married got a job on a tropical Pacific Island, and she relocated with him. The guy works radiation machines in oncology clinics, which is a ridiculously difficult profession, requiring a profuse amount of schooling and certifications. While they lived on this Island, he accrued OTJ experience, passed his tests eventually, and they've just relocated to the midwest.

The problem is this: He's dying. It's an illness that one can seek treatment for, but he refuses to do so. And without being on an organ donor list (which he isn't, and doesn't want to be on it seems), and without treatment, it's all but an inevitability that in the next year or two (maybe longer, maybe shorter), he won't be around any more. He has no fear of death. None. I suspect it's the courage brought on by devout faith, but it is what it is. As far as I can tell, he's okay with dying - if it happens, it happens (and it WILL happen).

I'm not close to him, and have no real attachment to him, but my concern is for my mother, both her mental health, and her financial health. They have damn decent money in the bank, and she's the beneficiary for his life insurance policy. He doesn't have a will, because he doesn't want his estranged family getting his possessions or wealth (I don't know why, nor do I care). She's a teacher - 20 years in the field, but she's in her mid fifties now, and I can't help but wonder how in the heck her retirement would help - a teachers pension isn't something I think really goes far.

So given this inevitability of a relatively soon death, how can my mother prepare? Are there any legal pitfalls to watch out for? What can we do to be in the best position possible when this all turns to shit real quick?

This wasn't easy to write. But I hope the good folks in H/A have some wise words to share.

I think Pringles original intention was to make tennis balls... but on the day the rubber was supposed to show up a truckload of potatoes came. Pringles is a laid-back company, so they just said, "Fuck it, cut em up!".

Posts

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Are you wanting probate and estate planning advice? If so:

    Get a probate and estate planning lawyer. Do not cheap out, because wording here is the difference between maximizing his exclusion and her getting a lump sum and the proceeds being immediately subject to the estate tax.

    I'm not a lawyer, but I just had a long ass talk with my dad and my sister about my parents wills and the trust that will be setup should one survive the other.

    Get a probate and estate planning lawyer.

    If she survives him, she should have no worry about his previous family having a claim to her shit, though they may have a claim to his half of the community property (and possibly his separate property) IF HE DOESN'T PLAN HIS ESTATE. That's the purpose of estate planning: to settle these matters. It gets mucky if he has descendants who are claimants, which is why they should pony up and get this stuff sorted. Basically if they don't settle it while he's alive it will be a clusterfuck when he dies and other claimants start to sue.

    Get a probate and estate planning lawyer.

  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    I suggest talking to a lawyer to cover all the bases.

    Also, and this is a little thing but it may help when the day comes. It can be a good idea to discuss the funeral. That way there is less choices to be made in what can be a stressful time.

    Finally and I think this is most important. Talk to your mother about it if possible and if there are people close to her including them in what is happening may be a good thing to consider.

    Bones heal, glory is forever.
  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    He doesn't have a will, because he doesn't want his estranged family getting his possessions or wealth (I don't know why, nor do I care).
    This seems, uh, odd. A well-done will would ensure that your mom got everything. If he's going to die for sure, it's pretty rude to not take care of everything on the legal side in advance. He and your mom should really go speak to an estate lawyer.

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Get them to go to a lawyer, at the very least to get a will written up. It's the only way that he can assure that his assets will go where he wants them to go. Otherwise it's difficult (at best) to keep the estranged family from taking what their lawyers will tell them they deserve.
    While they're at the lawyer, they should also talk about the legal pitfalls and what's going to happen. It may be expensive, but it's a lot cheaper to find out now.

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • KalgarethKalgareth Registered User regular
    "She's a teacher - 20 years in the field, but she's in her mid fifties now, and I can't help but wonder how in the heck her retirement would help - a teachers pension isn't something I think really goes far."

    That completely varies state by state, district by district, and you would be surprised how good some of the pensions can be, especially if she has been working for 20 years+. Obviously, she just recently moved to the mid-west and may have had to reset her time frame, but you she could have a fairly decent pension. I wouldn't discount this element completely in a sustainable retirement discussion.

  • 3lwap03lwap0 Registered User regular
    Thanks for the advice all. I'm reasonably sure they haven't contacted an estate attorney yet, but that sounds like a solid move. It's my understanding he's not close to his family, nor is there much love there. If they have the possibility of swooping in and taking something, it'll pay to know about it in advance.

    As for teacher pensions, it's complicated. Because she started teaching in one state, moved to another, taught there, and now lives in a 3rd state, that pension doesn't follow you. It's not like a 401k. You have to put in years in a specific state to have that, and she doesn't have that, least not yet.

    I think Pringles original intention was to make tennis balls... but on the day the rubber was supposed to show up a truckload of potatoes came. Pringles is a laid-back company, so they just said, "Fuck it, cut em up!".
  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    I have a few questions:

    1. Was he diagnosed or has sought treatment for his illness inside the US?

    2. What is their living situation right now? Are they renting a place or did they purchase a home?

    3. Do they have any large outstanding bills? Car Loans, Home Loans, Signature Loans, Credit Cards, etc?

    Since he has decided that he's ready to go - you should discuss what his wishes are for the wake, the funeral, and his remains. Terminal folks sometimes have a living wake, where everyone basically throws a party you'll actually get to go to. Also - if its burial, he'll need a site, if its Cremation, decide who gets the ashes - there will be LOTS..so its easy to divide amongst remaining family members - just make sure to tell them ahead of time the number of urns to divide the remains into.

  • 3lwap03lwap0 Registered User regular
    1. Yes - but it's my understanding he doesn't want to do it anymore, and hasn't for some time.
    2. Yeah, they rent currently.
    3. Car loans for sure - outside of that, I don't know.

    As for a funeral - well, I wouldn't bank on it. It's not cultural (?)for his people. Given the traditional religious way they're held, and according to my research, it'll be quick and tidy. He's not uh, from around these parts. I'm more concerned about a will - and about my mom losing her husband. It's not something one can be blase about, but I don't want to intrude on her life. I just want her to be safe and happy, or some measure of both.

    I think Pringles original intention was to make tennis balls... but on the day the rubber was supposed to show up a truckload of potatoes came. Pringles is a laid-back company, so they just said, "Fuck it, cut em up!".
  • NosfNosf Registered User regular

    Can't speak for the states, but in Canada even if married and you die without a will, it totally fucks over your family. You should always have a will if you have enough stuff, a family and care about how that stuff is dispersed after you die. Namely, not to the government. Get a proper lawyer, ask around and find a decent one. Have them walk you through what needs to be done. Before my dad passed away he came up with a list for my mom and I to follow afterwards. It was a simple list of 17 to 20 items that we simply worked through, many of them done in a couple days. Mom was a wreck and that list made a shitty time way, waaaaay easier.

    Check around for local mental health care resources and poll them about the situation, you never really know how it's going to hit some people, but if it really knocks mom off her feet, then you have some numbers to call.

  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    It's a lot easier for the family to litigate in probate court if you don't have a signed and witnessed will executed when the guy was in good health and sound mind. Having an atty involved is important because estate law is highly state specific, and dependent on the court's actual practice in your county, which only a local atty will know.

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  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    3lwap0 wrote: »
    1. Yes - but it's my understanding he doesn't want to do it anymore, and hasn't for some time.
    2. Yeah, they rent currently.
    3. Car loans for sure - outside of that, I don't know.

    As for a funeral - well, I wouldn't bank on it. It's not cultural (?)for his people. Given the traditional religious way they're held, and according to my research, it'll be quick and tidy. He's not uh, from around these parts. I'm more concerned about a will - and about my mom losing her husband. It's not something one can be blase about, but I don't want to intrude on her life. I just want her to be safe and happy, or some measure of both.

    Jeeze man, you can just say he's Muslim.
    Observances for funeral plots stipulate only that the grave be facing east - which means that you can competitively bid funeral plots just by seeing if they have an open space that faces east. Certainly places that bill themselves out as "specialist" services for religious sub-groups charge a premium that is, more often than not, completely bogus - same preparation, just billed out as "observant to X and Y religions" @ $Texas cost.

    I shit you not when I say - Costco sells coffins.

    Why its important for HER:
    1. Money - This is something that is hugely emotional. Don't think for a second that funeral directors won't direct her straight to the marble coffins with the 20 foot granite headstone. Your affinity for a person is used as a wedge to get you to spend more money - because you aren't close to the dude, you can haggle a lot better than she can.
    2. Grief - She's going to have it - and one way that people deal with a loved ones loss is to visit the grave site and "talk" with their deceased. Make sure the graveyard isn't an insanely long drive from wherever she's planning to stay. You should be able to drive to it within a ~90 minute window. That makes it a day trip if she goes to visit him.


    Now that we've got that part down - loans. If they have any, see if they have credit life on any of them. You'll need to get the paperwork to show that you have it - because banks love to forget that you pay them for that option. Credit life is simple - if you die - the debt goes away, period.

    Life insurance - check their policy, some life insurance companies allow you to file your claim, while your still alive! This is in the case of terminal illnesses, which he apparently has.

    I gotta go pick someone up - I'll be back to add more.

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