June 16, 2012 5:08 PM Subscribe
My husband died recently. We were together for decades and have school-age children. His passing involved severe trauma, and we have social support and frequent therapy appointments to get us through the turmoil. Emotionally, we're holding up.
My question is about getting our affairs in order.
posted by Fichereader to home & garden (29 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
My husband had done most of the household bill-paying, home repair, housekeeping, etc. I have been the primary wage earner and am able to take time off, with pay, this summer. I have spent the last few weeks getting the household expenses, and the house itself, in order. Please tell me how I'm doing:
BILLS: I am making the calls as the household bills come in, taking his death certificate to customer service counters to get accounts changed to my name and e-mail address, etc. (Some accounts were in his name, others in my name, some in both.) We shared the banking account. By changing the account ownership and contact info when the bills come in, I think I'm catching everything, with the following exception:
E-MAIL: I don't know the passwords to his email accounts, but his email is, for the time being, open on his laptop. I check it occasionally and have caught a few e-statements from credit card companies that I didn't know about. I worry that I'm going to lose access to the email. Will an e-mail provider allow a spouse formal access to the account?
SOCIAL SECURITY: I have contacted the Social Security office, and they have started the application for the children's survivor benefits.
MEDICAL: The numerous bills from his brief stay in the ICU are rolling in. They should all be in-network and, therefore, covered. The HR person told me to keep a spreadsheet to keep track and check off the expenses as the insurance company pays them.
HOUSEKEEPING: I've been considering what household work I should do myself and which I should budget to pay someone once work and school start up again. (I don't have much disposable income, but I'd budget it in if it would ease stress.) I feel like I can clean house, mow the lawn, and walk the dogs. I can do some household repairs, but will likely need to hire a handyman. If I go with a handyman, how often should I expect to call him? The house is about 40 years old. Do How-to-Use-Tools courses exist? I feel like taking one.
QUESTIONS: My employer has a helpline with 30 minutes free time to talk to a financial and/or legal advisor. The HR person suggested that I save up my questions before making that call. What questions should I ask?
I can get 2 or 3 of these tasks done each day before crumbling in a heap. What else should I be doing, apart from the tasks I've listed above? Is there someplace else I am supposed to report his death?