Monday, February 13, 2012

Notebooks, Wills, Cell Phone

It's only been three months since Dave died and the paperwork is horrendous. At some point in time, I'll put together my thoughts in a more pleasing fashion but for now, just keep your own notes, ask questions if you like and begin getting your affairs in order.

One more word about wills before going on...if you have underage or special needs children, you absolutely must have a will. If you don't have a will and, for example, both parents are killed in the same car crash, in Virginia, if it can't be proven otherwise, it's assumed the wife dies before the husband. Who knew?! But, that's just some of the legal mumbo jumbo that's "out there" and, unfortunately, most of us never know until it's too late.

Wives, if you should be assumed dead before your husband, do you want his family raising your children? I'm not saying they should or shouldn't, I'm saying is that what you and your husband want? If not, you need a will or the state steps in and various government officials employees determine what happens to your children, your property, etc. But that's all after they take their cut fee.

I've never used them but Legal Zoom is supposed to be a good place to obtain legal documents that will hold up in court in the USA, perhaps other countries as well, I don't know.

Last post, I talked about three-ring notebooks. My life is built around three-ring notebooks and I have them for virtually everything. Crafts, recipes, the class I taught at University, Dave's estate, his trust, our important papers...everything!

Jill, Pam and Star all brought up good points about what should go into a notebook.  I have a notebook that holds all the paperwork regarding will, trust, vehicle titles, mortgage, deed, marriage, divorce, birth, death, life insurance...virtually everything that I don't have to deal with after the information is placed in the notebook. I'll review it once a year but leave it otherwise.

A financial portfolio in a separate notebook means you can look at just that information quickly, easily and often.

In another notebook keep information regarding maintenance on appliances, farm, yard or garden equipment, heating and air conditioning, contacts and contracts for propane and oil, insurance papers on vehicles, home, people, equipment, other contracts.

Also, print, make copies and keep in a safe location all the passwords for all on-line accounts, utilities, bank accounts, e-mail, blog and web accounts.

Have both your names on all utilities - electrical, water, sewer, land line and cell telephones. The companies might give you a difficult time but it is your right to have utilities in both your names. Also, all insurance on vehicles, house, equipment, etc.  When I called V. cell phone company to tell them Dave had passed away and his phone needed to be disconnected, I was told, "We're sorry for your loss. You have seven days to sign a 3 year contract and buy a $100 phone." I told them, "I don't want a contract and I already have a phone." They told me, "You don't understand, this is our policy and if you don't make this decision in 7 days, we'll discontinue your cell phone service for you." I told them, "Let me make this easy for both of us; discontinue it now and send me a refund check."

Oh dearie me. That's when the foot licking started. "Oh but you've been such a good customer since 19XX and we don't want to lose you." I said, "Okay, we're back to I don't need a phone nor a new contract." They said, "That's our policy" and I replied, "What part of NOW don't you understand?" Then, they wanted to wait until the next billing cycle? Why? Because I would have owned them $81 plus but if they canceled at that moment, they would have owned me money.

DUH! Now I'm using a Wal Mart Straight Talk phone that cost $80 and I buy 1,000 minutes of text, 1,000 minutes of talk and 30 mg of i-net for $30 a month. If I want unlimited, I pay $45 and if I decide to buy a "Smart Phone" that will cost $150. There aren't any contracts and I buy only what I need. Oh, the best part? This particular Straight Talk phone uses V. cell towers.

HELLO! Can you hear me now?

Have both your names on all the insurance - cars, house, buildings, equipment. That way, should the secondary need to discuss something with the company, the secondary has every legal right to do so. Regardless what the company says; "it's our policy"...fine but my lawyer says...

Next time I'll talk about vehicles and bank accounts but for now, you've got your assignments. Please, leave questions, comments or your own good advice and thank you.

BTW, if you've stumbled upon this blog, you might want to visit me at Thistle Cove Farm.


Whimsey Creations said...

Good ideas Sandra! I just printed off some of them so I can start working on getting everything into both our names. Hugs!

Star said...

That is a great idea Sandra. Thank you for bringing it up. Often times one is asked for a 'Utility Bill' to prove who you are for something or other. Most bills only have the man's name on it, don't they. Then one gets stuck in a loop as you did. Grrrrr, how annoying. I'll see to that one! Thanks for the advice.
By the way, I agree about the phone. So far, I have never succumbed to a contract phone. I've only ever had a 'Pay as you Go' one, as they call it over here in England.
ps I learnt today that a friend of mine lost her husband suddenly over the Christmas holidays, while I was in America. It was very sudden and she was devastated, still is, of course. We never know, do we....!
Thank you again for your continuing valuable advice.

Penny said...

I'm not married Sandra but you have been giving good advice that in some cases works for me too.
Something I want to put in place is what Dave Ramsey calls a "Legacy" drawer. In are are all the important info that the heirs would need to settle an estate. Most of my info will be pretty simple but it is still a blessing to my will's executor to know ahead of time where all the necessary information is located.
Still keeping you in my prayers my friend!

Val said...

Hi, Sandra--

'Just thinking of you and wondering how you are.

Love to you today,

Val ♥