How to take over the family finances after a tragedy? How about not like this: I got a call maybe a month or three after my 55-year-old husband died from cancer, leaving our 12-year-old son and me stunned that this big personality had finally, in my husband’s words, “rolled over and called it a life.” I was picking up my elderly parents from the airport when I got an urgent call from the new manny (a male caretaker would be good for the kid, I was advised) saying, “Um, there’s a man here to take the Jeep.”
Yikes, I’d somehow forgotten to make the payments on my late husband’s car, and here we had a man attaching a winch to the front bumper and my tween son yelling, “Don’t take my daddy’s car!” in the street in front of all the neighbors.
So, even though my husband had briefed me repeatedly on what accounts he’d set up, what policies he had taken out, it’s not like I was really prepped for the financial realities of death. I was barely prepared for the “one less person living there in the house with us” part of death, and just staying awake and alert enough to interact with my son and friends and colleagues felt like running a daily marathon. And now I’m supposed to weigh the merits of competing Investment Retirement Accounts? No thanks, all set there.