Last month I wrote about how my Dad was diagnosed with Cancer. Well, he passed away on April 12th. Just 4 days shy of his 60th birthday. I don’t have many pictures of him but here is one I took on our last family visit in November.
It still hasn’t sunk in. My life has turned upside down in the past month and I’m just now starting to get my feet back on solid ground. Only now, almost a month later does it feel even reasonable to be thinking about things like writing blog posts and returning emails.
In my previous article I wrote about how my Dad didn’t have health insurance. Some of those bills are starting to come in and so far I think we are looking about $50,000. But I’m sure that’s not everything.
Health insurance wasn’t the only thing he was missing. He didn’t have life insurance, or a will, or powers of attorney, or beneficiaries on anything, or even his wife’s name on his bank accounts. He hadn’t done his taxes in 10 years, or have the books for his business up to date. He really didn’t have anything we would need to make this transition any easier.
It’s been crazy trying to get everything in order and save his businesses so that my stepmom can continue to have income. He did have a small pension from his old job. Other than that my step mom has no income if we can’t save his businesses, which are drowning in debt by the way.
That said, while I was visiting before he passed I was able to get him to sign a will and trust and at least tell us what he would like to do with his assets. Which was good. It was a VERY difficult thing to do. I’d say it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. My Dad did not want to talk about it at all. We basically had an intervention with the whole family and lawyer. When he realized we were serious and this wasn’t just talk he got very mad and said some mean stuff. But eventually he did sign the papers and we got it done. The next morning he went in for a chemo treatment and never really recovered from it. He passed away 8 days later.
Having the trust in place when he passed has been extremely helpful. Only one asset actually made it into the trust before he died but his will says “put everything I own into the trust” which helps us avoid a formal probate. We were able to transfer his bank accounts into his trust without a judge so that means they weren’t frozen. My stepmom can buy groceries and we can make payroll for his businesses. That saved us big time!
I honestly don’t know what would have happened without the will and trust in place. I also don’t know what will happen with the creditors out there. There over a million dollars just in mortgages. Plus many unsecured loans, plus several court ordered payments, plus back taxes, and don’t forget all those medical bills. I don’t know what happens. If they demand immediate payment my stepmom loses everything. Both her home and her income. That is still up in the air. The future is unknown.
In his last days my Dad wanted nothing more than to make sure his wife was secure. That she had a place to live and a nice lifestyle. But his in life he didn’t do anything to ensure those things in the event of his death. He didn’t get life insurance and had too much debt. He lived from one debt to the next always saying that next year his businesses would take off and he could pay back the loans. But what happens when there is no next year?
Please learn a lesson from my Dad! Right now, think about what would happen if you were to pass away. How would your loved ones carry on? I wrote a post awhile back about the things you need before you die. I think now is a good time to revisit it.