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Wills and paperwork - running out of time?

barbebarb's picture
Posts: 464
Joined: Oct 2011

I met with a lawyer on Mon. (referral from a friend) and he was 40 minutes late and asked me how long the doctor gave me....that didn't sit well with me. I told him no doctors really know that and he shared he knew someone who outlived their timeliness by 12 years. Grrrrrrr... He is lucky my steroid had worn off some because it truly made me manic 1. I have written a letter to my young adults 2. Have all accounts pulled together - forgot I had a Critical Care Policy I can cash in at once 3. Do you think I am being harsh putting stipulations on disburseements? Id like them to have a retirement account set up 4. I had asked my mom for help on this two years ago and nop help as well as she been has not been supportive. It took cancer for me to realize how emotionally damaging she has been. She continues to leave voicemails and says this its your mother I'm not dead yet hope you are all ok. We cant talk to her, too upsetting....toxic 5. I am using our fax at work today to change beneficiaries and work on paperwork 6. I realize I should have completed this during the fall when I was NED -just had and so much going on, and it took my seizure and miracle to be alive and still fighting to get kids and ex -husband on board 7. I am an only child and need a trustee 8. Tues., I have a bronsoscopy I pushed for (checking soft tissue -trachea...) and start chemo Wed -double whammy -Folfiri KRAS mutant -no erbitex (I cried a little when they reported this /had asked for testing during the summer and N Western oncologist wouldn't do at the time -Xelox regime had worked. 9. There has been so much to manage since brain tumor surgery and I feel a little back to normal. I am scrambling to get this completed. Any suggestions appreciated or maybe I am on the right track. I still feel hopeful I will get through this week but know the brain met incident is a biggie. Doctors have been great (neuro) but local Oncologist is nervous face to face. That is understandable but it maks me more nervous.7. Trustee is a big one - I am am an only child-my mother and her sister (my godmother-what a joke)are very close and I dont trust them. They like to go thru deceased relatives houses and they aren't going thu mine!!!! Big family - depression mindset

Posts: 1607
Joined: Aug 2012

Sounds like you are up on things. What about a list of accts and passwords if you do online bill pay. If you had a safe box or something you could put copy of will and atty contact info. List of accounts and assets...deed to house...car titles...letters to loved ones...lists of items to go to specific kids if its not in will...all ins info...living will if you have one. Fyi the atty can be your trustee. One of my biggest fears since my husbands diagnosis is that we both die...the baby is only 15 mos and no good guardian choices.

wawaju04976's picture
Posts: 316
Joined: Dec 2012

I admire you for doing this, esp. at a rough time. Set up the attorney as your trustee, then continue to fight!!!

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3372
Joined: Jan 2010

Getting affairs in order is something everyone should do, particularly when there are minor children involved. 

It sounds like you didn't have a good experience with the lawyer.  Do you have a very close friend or advisor who would be appropriate as a trustee?  It is something which needs to be discussed and agreed to before you appoint legally.  If not, check with your bank.  Know that any outsider like the lawyer or bank will want to be paid for their services from the trust. 

Also you may want to check with someone knowledgeable with retirement accounts.  It may be you can specify that the money go into a 401K instead of a trust account.

When I got my diagnosis, I put together a binder of important information.  Everything from assets and debts/monthly bills to my on-line accounts with passwords, insurance policies, and burial plot info and funeral arrangements.  Any information that only you know will be important to document.  You can also put a non-minor on your checking/savings accounts who is a non-signatory but has survivor rights to access the account.  This would allow expenses to be paid while waiting for insurance policies to be paid out.   It is also important to try to calculate how many death certificates will be needed.  Beyond insurance policies, originals may be needed for canceling your drivers license, credit cards, and the transfer of property such as cars and home.  For those who are receiving Medicare or other assistance which is direct deposited, payments received in the month death occurs may have to be returned.

This can be complicated stuff, depending on how much of an estate or debt you have.  You may want to contact a financial advisor.

None of this is "fun stuff" to contimplate, but knowing you are making it easier for your survivors makes it worthwhile to do.  It also brings peace of mind that all will be handled as you wish.

Prayers for you that none of this will be needed for many many years.

Marie who loves kitties



Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

Barb.  how old are your children??      Do you have a close friend you could have as a trustee, it's a big job for someone to take on ....you could have the lawyer,  but they'll take a chunk of $$ for this service....and there is no rush for them to do the work fast, I find lawyers tend to doddle with this job as it really has no deadline for them......your kids may need financial security faster than a lawyer is willing to work.   

geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

I am currentyl going thru some of this stuff (My George died this past October) so maybe I can add a few comments that will help you.

1.  You can specifically state (my Aunt had this in her trust) where you can name specific people you do not want going thru your home or any of your belongings.  In fact my Aunt stated specifically they are not to enter her home after death, they are not to go thru anything and they are not to take anything.  You can also specifically state who is to go thru your home,  and what is to be done with anything that is left and what charity you wish it to be donated to.  My sister and I were named to go thru all her personal belongings and then asked that what we didn't take was to be donated to her church for their twice yearly rummage sale with all benefits going to the church.

2.  If your children are young, your bank can act as trustee of your money per your wishes.  I don't know how much money will be involved but say at age 18 they want $30,000 for a car.  The trustee can say no, they do not need that type of car but authorize an amount to be used for the purchase.  Your local bank can advise as to how this works.  That way, any monies left to them will be protected and they cannot be taken advantage of by others wishing to borrow money (which never gets paid back) and others cannot "blow" they money for them.  You can also state at what age they can be given all that is left.  As an example, say Dad and his wife want to borrow money to remodel a kitchen and don't pay the money back, it is a difficult situation for your kids to sue their dad but yet could be out a large sum of money.

3.  If you  have any special memontos you want someone to specifically have, state that.  As an example, you may gave grandma's pearls, specifically state that you want those to go to your sister or whomever you feel close enough to give them to that way there is no in-fighting.  If you want someone to specifically have something, put it in writing in your will or trust, whichever you are doing (as an aside, it should be a trust that is protected from any creditors). 

4.  Make sure you have someone named to make medical decisions should that become necessary.  My George had me of course and when I brought a copy to the hospital they followed it pefectly.  Nothing was giving to him after a certain point without my saying yes.  Example:  My George was DNR 2 days before he died.  They wanted to give him a very slow drip of morphine to make breathing easier.  I said yes, but I was asked first and told what it was and what it was for.  Since George was experiencing complete renal failure, a kidney doctor came in and asked me about dialysis.  I asked him could this reverse the renal failure, questions like that, and he said no, most likely not, so (with a heavy heart) I said no, this was the day before he died.  These are very tough decisions to make so make sure the person you choose is willing and able to so do so.  If you don't have this paperwork, the hospital may be legally bound to throw everything at the patient.  This is something neither George or I want(ed).   No ventilators, no extraordinary measures when facing death. 

5.  I chose pallative care for George.  It is also known as comfort care.  It was a little different than hospice as George was in-hospital when he died but no extraordinary efforts at the time of death.  Very peaceful and loving and dignified environment for the patient and family.  I have no regrets about any decisions I had to make as difficult as they were.  George took his last breath in my arms I just hope he felt the love as he left.

Well this has gone on long enough so if you or anyone has any questions about this estate stuff send me a pm  as I am now going thru it.  I'll check this thread later in case any other questions come up.

Sincerely - Tina

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Your post got my attention this morning...

Your Mom is my my mom....oh my!  Toxic is the exact word I would use as well....I finally had to walk away from it...it made you sick a week before...visits were no fun and full of venom...and you'd be pissed off a week afterwards.

And when I read about your relatives ransacking houses "looking for treasures" they could haul off.....boy, that one got me...as a child, I'd watch my relatives snoop and actually take stuff out other folk's houses....one of my aunts was a "klepto."

Before I cut my mom out of my life, she came to the house one time and told me  (blank faced and straight out)...."I'm taking that picture."

It was a framed print that belonged to my wife...

And I said, "That's hers...you'll have to ask her."  She said, "I'm taking it."

She didn't of course...I stopped it...but she was trying to get her husband to get it off the wall....in front of me.

What irked me about her was her sense of ENTITLEMENT....if you had it...she wanted it...she was jealous, bitter, resentful, verbally harsh to anyone in her life...drove everyone away.  She never wanted to work for anything, but demaned that she have everything.

If she didn't have it...she didn't want you to either. 

I'm so sorry you drew this card too....it's not fair for either one of us...but we're good people, Barb...did nothing to deserve it...just ended up with the wrong people, who called themselves family.

I was talking with my wife last night about my family...it's a hot topic for me right now.  My grandparents were not children kind of people...I only knew one grandmother really....but the other three did not want a relationship of any kind...most of my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. I have no real memories of either...only met dad's brother ONE TIME...so never knew or had relationship with anything labeled family...I guess nobody wanted to be close...it was horrible.

I did have my one uncle who I adored (committed suicide)....and my beautiful sister, who was murdered.

They were the two...they were the ones...they loved me unconditionally and the memories  I have them are what family was for me.

My wife and I did wills when I was dx'd...thought I was gonna' die from the surgery...my 1st then...and I was scared....yeah, Sundance was scared...don't tell anyone, LOL!

I knew my mom would come after my wife when I passed...and what we worked for was hers...not Mom's. So, I made sure she had no legal recourse...money is her God...and like a black widow, she'll go through anyone in her path to get it.

And then piss it all away....another long story...

Here's a big hug for you (((Barb)))...wishing you nothing but the best....so proud of you and what you have done with that brain met.....soooo soooo proud of how you're doing...especially with limited support.  I'm with you while you go through it...and watching with pride!

Now, get well soon...we've got a store to open....and some books to peddle. 




annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

I'm so sorry you don't have better family support at a time like this.  Hard enough doing all of this even when you do have the support.  This goes a little beyond the more practical matters, but when I was facing palliative surgery (and a poor prognosis) a while back, one of the nurses in the hospital suggested writing letters for each of my kids, or making up birthday cards for several years into the future.  Honestly, I was kind of upset by her frankness, but she was right, and I did get the letters done at least.  Still haven't figured out the difficult issue of guardianship, as we don't have anyone really suitable, especially for my son, who is much younger than his siblings.  I think it's probably going to be fall on my middle daughter, who turns 18 in March.  Will your husband be able to take the kids in the event that it's necessary?  It does sound like you are on the right track overall, getting the hard stuff taken care of.  Sending strength your way~AA

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I put everything down on paper before my first surgery.  I had 2 disabled children, and needed to make sure they were taken care of.  Over time, I modified it to include an advanced directive...where I want a BIG party to celebrate my life...not mourn my passing....

I, too, had an ex-hubby (since then, he died), and he was named as a guardian for that time. 


Don't stress too much over this, anything you can get down is better than nothing...it does not need to be perfect, the first time around!



 I WILL say, though, my mom having her affairs in order made a HUGE difference for me, as her executrix, as opposed to my ex-hubby's estate, which I also executed (the estate, not the ex...*grin*), who had not even said what he wanted to have done with his remains...so I had to guess...we had been divorced for 17 years, but he still was in our lives (the girls' and mine).

Hugs to you, dearest...you are doing a fine thing!!!


Hugs, Kathi


barbebarb's picture
Posts: 464
Joined: Oct 2011

Very tired still from no sleep while on steroid...ugh Went to work and made copies of all important papers etc., but still need to do passwords etc. Tomorrow I will outline my wishes. One of my cousins reached how to help me. Sending him my wishes. (He is a lawyer) Daughter is 21 and son 23. I want them to establish retirement accounts, continue college, and a few stipulations. I think I will come out of broncoscopy ok but how much can we go through huh? Weekly surprises! I will have peace of mind once I get this completed.... My ex -husband is having great financial problems but he and his girlfriend live the good life and he isn't present or intentional. (With kids problems) which is damaging, as well as recent incidents with my mom. My daughter says karma mom, its coming for her. She is another person I have to ignore with so much fight and healing. Thank you all for your help. Tomorrow is a new day for me to continue the documentation. Sure takes time. Craig - we have parallels in our lives. My mom's side loves to go thru houses and snoop. This will not happen. My daughter knows this....What is wrong and makes family members stingey and crazy? I 'll never get it! Really ticks me off.

Tomorrow I will pull this post up so I don't forget anything. I need three witnesses and have a template... Again - thank you I hate cancer as much as I am adjusting to living with it.... Wish the store were opening soon :-) Craig - you deserve TvV appearances as well

Excuse my typing -on my kindle fire - gift from my son..

Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

I'd check into whether or not you have some kind of pension from any employment you've had.   I know of one family, kids lived with dad,  not talking to mom she was very strange....he passed away without thinking of where his pension from teaching would go....none of it went to his children,  she managed to get it all as she was married to him at the time he was a teacher....kids literally ended up being kicked out of the house they lived in with their father by her.....I don't know how but she managed to get everything including his teachers pension.    Make sure you change the beneficiary for everything, things you may have long forgotten about.    My kids know my pin # for my bank accounts,  when I was in hospital two years ago I'd give them my bank card and ask them to go make some various purchases for me for things I needed.  

barbebarb's picture
Posts: 464
Joined: Oct 2011

Smokeyjoe. - thank you. I discovered on an IRA from our divorce my X was listed as primary. I faxed the change form so the kids will benefit.
I need to give them password for checking.
This was a long process to think of everything and list items for them to have.
I feel a little weight lifted but feel empty too.
Now I need to pack an emergency bag in case of anymore hospital visits.
I am lucky my cousin will work on this tomorrow.

Everyone has been so helpful.
I will be able to focus on healing but in some ways I am tired of
thinking about cancer. It never seems to go away.....


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