Getting back to posting a regular blog has been difficult. I can’t believe it’s been three months since my husband passed away. There are so many things to do following such a sad event, and perhaps that is a helpful thing. It keeps one fairly busy.
Don’s party was a big help in beginning the grieving process, which is so important. It seems we humans are a lot alike in many respects. One is the steps it takes to recover from the death of a loved one. Both my husband and I opted not to have funerals. They are fine for those who need them. What we did was prepay for cremation and no services. He wanted a party and I do too. Celebration of our lives is more important to both of us than a ceremony marking our deaths. Family and many friends attended his celebration, we told stories about him and toasted his life. It was truly cathartic.
Something I learned here. We had read warnings not to prepay funeral expenses because the funeral home might not be there by the time you needed them. This is a false warning. Prepaid funeral funds are put into a special protected account and remain available for your funeral no matter what.
Soon comes the reality that life goes on. There are death certificates to send to insurance companies, the tax people which includes personal property and real estate, then there’s social security, and health insurance. The mortuary will acquire as many as you need. It is better to have one or two left over than to run out.
All of this information might seem a bit personal, but maybe it will help someone who faces the same events. I am not giving legal advice, just telling you what we learned in the process to help you be prepared. It is most important that you have an attorney who specializes in advising the elderly in financial matters.
Because I am disabled and was unable to care for my husband at home, he was in long term care for six months at $5,000 more or less each month. We saw an attorney when that began and he qualified us for Medicaid so that monthly bill was taken care of. Qualification was made a shorter process thanks to having someone who knew what they were doing handle the process. The attorney qualified my husband for Medicaid within two weeks of us turning in all our information to him. I won’t go into that process because it is very complicated. Again, my advice. Get good referrals and see an attorney.
After my husband passed away our attorney assisted in changing information on our property deeds to avoid probate when I too am gone. We added my daughter’s name to bank accounts as well. This is important because those accounts would be frozen in the event of my death if there is no other name on them. For those able to do this, it makes a lot more sense than a will that faces long term probate.
Soon the medical bills began to arrive. There’s $43,000 + to pay for the helicopter jaunt to Springfield and back when he fell and broke his pelvis. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Thankfully, we had taken out additional health insurance at the beginning of the year that will take care of what Medicare won’t pay on the bills that continue to come in. Otherwise we would have been liable for 20% of what Medicare approved of that bill as well as all the others. That was just one of the many that continue to arrive. I am fortunate that we have good medical and pharmaceutical coverage.
I wish you and your friends and loved ones long lives, but sooner or later we all face loss, and in today’s complicated world it’s difficult to say the least. It never hurts to be prepared. Preparing ourselves to face old age is another long story, and there are experts out there who can assist in that as well. I had some very good advice from a friend who worked in that field, but she has since retired. Thank you, Sara Bartlett for what you did. I
also appreciate everyone at North Hills Care Facility in Fayetteville. They were all terrific. Thanks to Linda and Neal Apple for throwing the party, and the many friends who attended. A very special thanks to our daughters Jeri Henson and Chrissy Allen without whom I would not have held up. I love you all, and if I can do anything to help any of you, just give me a holler.