Today I'm just going to do a quick little bit about my recent experience heading out to Illinois to arrange for the funeral and interment of my wonderful grandmother. I won't go into too much detail, just some things to consider / learn from for those who might be preparing their estates or working with loved ones on their estates. I won't get into the emotional elements of the experience in this post, but will focus on a couple of logistical elements...
My brother and I were co-Power of Attorney - he was financial and I was healthcare. And while I had heard this before, it caught me by surprise when i heard it again...Power of Attorney ends the "instant" your loved one dies. So that means that any and all powers you had now end and you move into the execution of the will. So if you haven't prepared for that ahead of time, you can run into some issues when it comes to distributing payment for certain services, etc.
My brother and I were doing the funeral planning the week before gramma passed in order to have that expense accounted for in the event that gramma recovered and the great spend down continued. We wanted to make sure her estate could cover the funeral costs when the time came - a very real concern as you're getting closer to "0" in assets. Funeral expenses can be "pre-paid" or a trust can be created to cover those costs using funds that would be exempt from a Medicaid lookback - of course you need to consult with professionals, but as you start to prepare for the future, this is one of those expenses you want to take care of while you are POA. Why? Well, otherwise you may need to cover the costs of a funeral using your own money while you wait for assets to be executed within the will.
As it is, my brother and I are the executors too, but money can't be released until the estate clears state laws for probate or small estate classification. Fortunately there are not many creditors knocking on doors, etc., but we won't have access to funds to cover certain costs until this all gets cleared up (that includes standard checks we used to cover like prescription costs, etc.). Fortunately we're not looking at something complicated and the lawyer appears to think this will clear up quickly in small estates.
My brother and I found a couple of receipts on insurance products that were bought in the 80's at companies that have been acquired multiple times over and these didn't have any monthly bills that we could find. It is a lot of work to try and clear up these potential accounts based on a receipt - lesson for me, if God grants me a long enough life like gramma, I'll want to consolidate accounts and scrap / shred any documents that might cause confusion later on. OK - Easier said than done. But this is something to consider - getting finances organized with clear "beneficiary" information covered is something that could take a few hours of hassle, but save your loved ones some confusion, etc. I'm not saying this as if it is a burden, but it's something that happens. I'm not the best record keeper at ALL - but it will be the type of thing that I'll want to do in order to make the transition from me to them as easy as possible.
Lastly, I'd like to say that the free Covid testing at CVS when returning home was easy to do, quick and allowed me to feel confident in short order that I could comfortably circulate in our society. The difference from now to 7 months ago on testing is pretty amazing. 6 months ago I was told that whatever I was dealing with had symptoms consistent with Covid, but that there weren't enough tests given it sounded like my symptoms were clearing up. Now I can drive up to a window without symptoms, do a test and 48 hours or less later I have an answer. Pretty cool.
Gramma, I know you are up with our heavenly father and reunited with your loved ones. Thank you for your love, your care and planting the seeds of my faith in Jesus Christ all those years ago - I didn't think I would be where I am now as a believer, but today I know I will see you again.