We recently met with a woman in Mesa, Arizona, whose husband passed away 1 year prior. We will refer to her as Virginia. This was our first time meeting with Virginia, and she wanted our assistance after having noticed some expenses being removed from her account, and getting some notices in the mail.
Unfortunately, Virginia had not taken some vital steps after the death of her husband. Most of their assets were jointly owned, so she simply assumed that everything would be taken care of and gave it little mind. However, she didn't take the time to cancel some expenses that were being charged to her husband. In fact, one of these was a cell phone line which cost nearly $100 every month. She never notified the company to remove the additional line since they no longer needed to pay for two cell phones. Also, Virginia's husband was the only one who used the internet, but she never thought to cancel the service. She also did not realize that her husband had a separate credit card that had not been paid off, and because she was not aware of it and making payments on it, it was incurring a number of late fees.
There were a few other items that Virginia had not taken care of, which had been costing her a good amount of money over the past year. While many of the companies had been sending bills and notices, Virginia had not been opening the letters, assuming they were junk mail. Also, since several of his bills were automatically withdrawn from their joint bank account, she had paid thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses.
If Virginia had taken some time after her husband's death to go through their various accounts and records, she could have avoided these expenditures. Because Virginia never notified the companies of her husband's death and cancelled the subscriptions, nor responded to the mail they had sent her, she cannot get them to refund the money. And because her husband did not include her on these various bills and credit card, it took Virginia over a year to remedy the situation. This, unfortunately, was a very costly mistake.
Make sure that during your life you keep an accounting of your expenditures and accounts so that family members can handle your affairs in case of incapacity or death. After a death, make certain you cancel any memberships or payments that are no longer needed. This is an important step to avoid losing much-needed funds on unnecessary services.
What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100's of years of combined experience ensuring that families' assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down. The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.