The Post Caregiver Tasks You Don't Think About
Well hello my caregiver friend and thank you for listening to another episode of The Caregiver Cup Podcast. I hope you are doing well. If things are hard for you right now, know that I’m sending you virtual hugs. I record an episode each week to help you and other caregivers find tips and motivation to make your caregiver life a bit easier and most importantly to understand that I get and to tell you you are not alone.
In this episode, I want to share the caregiver task you don’t think about. When your loved one passes, you think your journey is done, but wait, you have a laundry list of things to do. You are grieving, planning their funeral and/or celebration of life and you have these dreaded tasks to do too.
If you have a loved one that is terminally ill, a loved one in hospice or an elderly parent, I know this episode
As I was cleaning out my Mom’s apartment last week, I totally broke down in tears. The tears flowing thinking Mom wasn’t in the apartment anymore, I never will see her sitting in her lazy boy, I will never walk up the side walk and see her waving from her patio balcony, I missed her smell and it felt so final. And.. I was exhausted and overwhelmed from doing all the estate logistics too.
After Mom had passed, my siblings and I spent a couple days planning my Mom’s Celebration of Life. So my Mom passed on October 1, Her Celebration of Life was on October 6 followed by a private graveside service on October 7. Then we moved into cleaning out her apartment. We only had 30 days to move out her belongings and cleaning it out. People may say, how much does a person have but my Mom was so darn organized and utilized every space perfectly. We just finished yesterday.
The other weight, like I talked about was all the estate stuff. I’m grateful that I managed her bills as a caregiver, so I knew where everything was filed. So I began creating the estate list the Monday after her services were done.
So today I want to share everything I did in hopes you can learn from me and maybe even do some things prior. My disclaimer is that I am not a lawyers or accountant. It’s must a girl on your podcast sharing my experiences. Please, check with your attorney, bank and any other professional source needed.
What I did was created a list of everything that had to be cancel, called on and officially submit. Then I created file folders for each. The funeral home had the death certificates made and I had those the day after her services.
Then I began the searches for the Will, Bank Statements, Life insurances, and all documents that would need my attention.
Now that I had the list, I started prioritizing what I thought was most important and started calling each one.
- I looked through her lease - had a disclaimer in it regarding death.
- So the lease was voided and we had 30 days to move out.
- Contacted the apt manager and I had to sign a form stating I had insurance and was liable for the 30 days.
- They also sent me the final checklist.
Change of address
- Required death certificate and proof of estate mgr
- Switch the policy to my name
- Change of address and my info
- Cancellation date
- Mom and I created a joint / shared account. If I didn’t have that done, it would have been frozen until estate was settled
- Deposited all gifts of $ from funeral
- Met with manager to record date of death with death certificate, will and signed paperwork
- I would suggest you meet with bank as one of your first visits
- Found policy
- Called and started process
- Called to begin process
- All three siblings were beneficiaries
- They needed all our info (ss, dob, address, phone number, etc)
- Started process and will have to fill out w9, forms and get notarized
- Transfer form with notary, medallion signatures at bank
- Proof of estate, death certificate, original stock certificates
- Certified overnight mail
- This was the hardest requiring many calls
- Received transfer form packets which was very complex
The first and maybe the most obvious was her utilities. You would think calling the lights and heating utilities would be easy. Well it involved going through an automated robot system and waiting for 15 minutes. Then having to give all you loved ones info. They made me end my Mom’s service and then put the service under my mom’s name for the rest of the month. Crazy. I’m not sure you could do anything in advance with this one, but have all information ready to call .
Same would go for the cable and streaming service.
- Canceling service
- Returning routers
Cell phone. One thing I found helpful is that Mom was under my plan. So it was much easy to cancel her service. She did have a newer phone, so I had to send her phone in for reimbursement
Heath Insurance - supplement
- Automation process
- Date of death, death certificate
- Asking about reimbursement
- Reimbursement for hospice care
- First - cancel policy - needed proof
- Filed claim
- Requested medical records
- Grateful mom’s balances were low and/or minimal
- But it was a huge hassle
- Could put them on hold to protect identity
- But they needed proof to completely cancel
Mausoleum and Funeral Expenses
- Parents paid in advance for their plot
- The mausoleum was going to charge up for Mom
- Dig up all paperwork and show proof that it was paid for
- I also had to approve date of death font for plate
- Funeral Home filed
- Wait up to 30 days for final payment
- Funeral home director told me to call him if no response in 30 days
NOTE: One thing I did with Mom about a year ago was sell Mom’s car. If you don’t want to sell the car, make sure you change to your name otherwise it requires you to go to the DMV with title, death certificate and legal papers to change over.
Now I’m lucky I didn’t have to deal with property. But I did with my Dad. My mom was not on the property. But Wisconsin law give the property to my mom after probate court. We had to hire an attorney to take care of all of this.
It was really important for me to record all phone numbers, who I talked to and any case numbers.
I am far from being done. My first week, I made all the calls. My second week, I worked on all the forms and info I received. Now my third week involved follow up calls and checking progress.
It is part of the estate manager’s job to go through this. My hope for you is that you keep this in mind. Is there anything you can do in advance? Is there any discussions you can have?
Here’s my 2cents worth that I feel you can do in advance based on my second estate experience and watching my husband go through a trust estate with his Dad.
- Ensure your loved one has a legal document assigning a POA and/or personal representative. Will or Trust
- Banking - consider what will happen when you loved one passes. Can you or the estate manager access money.
- Has your Loved One discussed their final wishes with you.
- Who would make their decisions if they can’t
- Their end of life plans?
- Any special requests?
- Property and vehicles - can you do anything to make the process easier? I wish I would have look at my Dad’s fishing boat, ATV, truck, etc and recommended a visit to the DMV
- Could you pay off and close any accounts?
- Could anything be transferred in advance?
- Do you know where everything is and filed?
If you are close to starting this, remember, there are many, many helpful people out there to ask questions to? My husband used an attorney for his Dad. I found my local credit union the best help and also learned to ask lots of questions.
Lastly, my final comment are about being that executor of the estate when you have others waiting. Meaning paying the final bills and paying inheritance to others.
- Remember communication is key.
- With my siblings, I’ve created a text chain and give them updates on my progress.
- Allow yourself time to work on this - I did a couple calls each day. It can get very frustrating waiting on hold and going through automated robots.
- Expect delays, long processes and follow ups
- Consult with professionals if you don’t know the legal processes and an accountant about the tax laws.
- And most importantly, find time for yourself in this process
You will be grieving the loss of your loved one, working through their belongs and now being an executor of the estate.
Lastly I want you to know that I am here for you, my friend. If you want to talk personally with me, drop me a direct message.
If you are looking for community, check out the Caregiver Cup Circle ❤️ https://www.cathylvan.com/caregivercircle. The small group meets every other Tuesday. We would love to have you!
If you are interested in 1:1 support ➡️ DM Cathy at @cathylynnvan
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