Chapter 7 - After the Flowers Have Wilted …

            … you’re alone in the house … the survivor … the phone rings less frequently …  conversations with your mate that you took for granted are suddenly absent; the house seems absurdly empty without them.  Now there’s time for grief, and “stupefying” is a good description.  There are no classes, no training, no preparation for losing your partner and soul mate.  Some survivors may even wish to die themselves and a surprising number do pass within a relatively short period after losing their partner.  The five stages of grief, characterized by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, can be expected: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally - acceptance.

“Acceptance:” a word and a feeling that will gradually infuse your consciousness as you experience, endure, and gradually process the grief.  It DOES gradually subside … and Life Goes On.

“Adaptation to change” – it is a choice …your choice.

Processing the Estate
Do you need a lawyer?
- If you’re the executor of your combined estate, you are (should be) familiar with the details.  If your net worth has warranted a more sophisticated estate with trusts, etc., you may want the services of an attorney for implementation of the plan.  As designated executor, however, you may be able to conduct and implement most, if not all, aspects of your estate plan with little, if any, legal counsel.  (Hopefully, this is one topic covered with legal counsel when your estate plan was being prepared.)  This will depend on your level of education, comfort with courts and the legal system, and your state laws governing probate and estates.

cf: “The Executor’s Guide: Settling a Loved One’s Estate or Trust, by Mary Randolph, J.D., author of“Eight Ways to Avoid Probate,” NOLO.

With a will or estate plan recommended in Chapter 2 above, you will probably be able to avoid, or at least minimize, the complications of probate – something to be desired. 

Note:  Be Alert for elder abuse –some examples:
- contact from a financial advisor with great-sounding money-making ideas;
- strangers outside banks or ATM’s  offering to help you with your banking;
- calls from “Your best looking grandson” (without giving his name);
- relatives asking for a loan, or to drive you to appointments, & then keeping your car so “it’s convenient for them to respond to your needs”