Dealing with the death of loved ones can ‘knock you for six’ and yet amidst all the pain of the loss, personal finance matters must be taken care of.
I recently found this out only too clearly following the deaths of both my parents in quick succession.
At the start of last year we knew my Mother was still very delicate health wise, having had a major heart operation the year before.
We were not remotely prepared though for the sudden death of my Father from a heart attack in Spring. As one of his neighbours commented on the day he died, ‘when we saw the ambulance we thought your mother had taken a turn for the worse, we didn’t think for one moment it could be your Father’.
But so it was, Dad had died. Having been together since school days, married for more years than they cared to remember, my parents were devoted to each other. It was so hard therefore for Mum with Dad gone. She rallied though and initially seemed to be dealing with the grief and as she would put it ‘pulling herself together’.
But through this grief stricken time, it became clear very quickly that we, as the children, needed to step in to help with personal finance matters. Mum was of the old school and left all that to my father so, whilst willing to get involved, Mum needed help. Fortunately Dad had kept very good financial records which helped us enormously.
We still had a lot to learn and do though as we kept on top of the bills and money owed as well as got a handle on wider investments and such as insurance policies that were in place. We also of course had to make sure that Mums Will was updated to reflect the loss of Dad. There was probate to initiate too.
Despite the initial positive direction from Mum, her health quickly deteriorated. She not only was struggling physically but mentally too. As well as dealing with medical and health related matters, we soon needed to take further steps to make sure financial matters were effectively dealt with, including drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Sadly in early autumn Mum died. In some respects we felt total relief for her, the pain and suffering was over and she would be able to be with her loving husband again. For us, there was overwhelming grief. We had still though to deal with all the financial matters, including selling the family home. Such an emotional time.
We have now come a long way and concluded a lot of the work that needed to be done. The emotional side of course will take longer to heel and in some respects it never will – we will though always remember our parents for all their love and kindness to us and hope that we can take forward at least some of this to our families and friends.
Whilst there is a lot of information to draw on to help deal with personal finance matters following the death of loved ones, I am taking the opportunity of bringing as much of this as I can here on MoneyHighStreet.com. Whilst I may not be able to cover all aspects, what I can cover I will put in a way that I hope will help people.
I am starting with areas that you can address before you have to face the death of a loved one itself, making sure you are as prepared as you can be.
As such a Lasting Power of Attorney is something to consider. This is a legal document that basically says who should look after your finances should you become incapable of doing so. See my article ‘What is a Lasting Power of Attorney’ for more on this, including how to set one up and who can act as an Attorney for you.
I’ll keep you posted as I add more.
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