Archive for Estate Business

Facts (and Lies) On Death Certificates

causes of death How about a few thoughts on one of the most (least) popular items on your after-death to-do list?

Death certificates are among the most dismal of reading materials. But they are essential for the “business” after a loved one’s death. Since it takes time to order and acquire certificates, it’s better to purchase multiple copies. Tucking several extras into a file is likely better than scrambling to request more in the future.

On a practical note, the mortuary will probably handle the death certificate. Depending on the county, prices for certificates run the gamut from cheap to are-you-kidding! expensive. In the United States, official copies are obtained from a county clerk’s office*.

Insurance companies, banks, and similar institutions requiring proof of death frequently want the legal certificate issued with the county’s seal. However, with my parents’ estate, the companies that requested an official certificate versus those only needing a copy were never predictable. Read More →

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The Business of Grief

estate-saleI write these words now, influenced by last year’s memories. In the late summer of 2013, my mother had moved from a hospital to the skilled nursing facility (SNF) where she would die less than two weeks later. I posted thoughts on my Facebook page during that time. This was what I wrote several days after Mom entered the SNF:

Just before 6:30am, I call the nurse’s station…Mom continues non-responsive. Today, my older sister will meet with hospice and determine (again and as always) possible next steps. “What is best for Mom?” remains our guiding question while her strong vital signs and terrible weakness from surgery and cancer wind down an unknown path. I remain in Fresno, now engaged in the peculiar, unsettling chores of closing accounts. An email cancels her car insurance. A packed box is ready to return her Lifeline equipment. Sigh.

Mom was in Sacramento, I had briefly returned home to Fresno. The two California cities are roughly 160 miles apart, almost three hours of driving. With modern technology—from phones to texting to Skype—there is instant communication. However, with the emotions surrounding a loved one’s dying, a mile or a thousand miles feels like an impossible distance, a vast separation.

We knew Mom was dying, though she was yet alive. Read More →

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