Unfinished Business

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by Joe Mudd on October 14, 2011

Today I’m exhausted.

I’ve begun the process of taking care of all my unfinished Richard business. It’s a pretty impressive to-do list. There are just so many little things that need to be done, so many loose ends that need tying.

In the early days after Richard’s death I had a lot of energy to get all the legal and financial things taken care of. I felt like making sure Richard’s money was secured, and his final financial house was in order, was one last thing I could do for my kid. But you can’t just go and transfer funds, and close accounts. You need legal documentation that says you have the right to do those things. That’s a good thing, because we don’t want someone to be able to come in and transfer all our money out of our bank accounts without jumping through a whole bunch of hoops.

But there was a problem. This process all begins with the death certificate. It took three months to get Richard’s death certificate. That’s a long time to wait, and to maintain the desire to force yourself to do emotionally hard tasks.

It also turns out most financial institutions won’t let you access accounts with only a death certificate. You need court orders that give you authority. This of course takes more time.

Richard left behind a checking account, a small mutual fund account, a couple of paychecks, a broke down Camero, and assorted credit card bills.

The credit cards were taken care of as soon as it was legally possible. I had an attorney do that for me. Credit card companies seem to take the news that they won’t be getting any money much better when a lawyer tells them.

It’s the other items, the assets, that I’m struggling with.

They’re like little pieces of him left behind. I know it sounds silly, but closing those items out is sort of like he’s dying all over again. At least a little bit.

He had an automatic draft from his checking account of $50 each month going to his mutual fund. I had to stop that as soon as the death certificate arrived because his checking account balance got too low to make another payment. $50 bucks a month wasn’t much, but it was just an example of Richard’s plans for the future. The future that will never be. But I can still feel his hopes and dreams when I look at his account statements that come to our mail box.

It’s really hard to let go of those pieces of him.  So, I’ve been putting it off.

I’ve been forced to deal with it.

Chase bank has started charging his account a monthly maintenance fee. In a couple of months they have all that’s left in there. I don’t think he’d like that. So I’ve spent the last couple of days dealing with the bank to get his account closed. He had some sort of reward points that I’m having converted to cash. They’re worth nearly $100. It’s taking them a long time to post the funds to his account, so I’m still waiting to close it out.

The emotional stress of such a simple thing as closing a bank account is exhausting.

I still have to transfer his mutual fund into my name. I need to do something with his car that’s rotting in our driveway. And I need to have his two final paychecks, that expired before we could get the death certificate, reissued.

I don’t want to do any of those things. But I guess the time has come.

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