chelseagirl: Alice -- Tenniel (Default)
[personal profile] chelseagirl
My aunt died late Thursday night. She was with a health care aide. I'm told that when the aide came in to give her last set of medications for the night at 9pm, she said she wanted to sleep a little longer, and when the aide came back at 9:30, she was gone.

I had seen her the day before. She'd finally gone home from the nursing home/rehab center, and then fell again and was rehospitalized a week later. This time a cracked vertebrae, though it might not have been the result of the fall. I left work early on Wednesday to be with her in the emergency room, but I had to fly out to Denver the next morning for a conference I was presenting at. I got back late on Sunday, taught Monday morning, and then headed back to the hospital. They released her that night, and she went home with her primary aide.

Wednesday morning I got a call from her aide that the agency hadn't sent someone else yet. (Lorna was private, not from the agency.) She'd been there for 48 hours and was tired and stressed. So I told my staff I wasn't coming in and cancelled my appointments (I lied and called in sick, because I had been taking off so much time due to my aunt -- luckily, as long as I don't miss classes, I've got some flexibility . . . but people have been out and we've had a problematic grad student client and there are things that need to be done). I took a taxi uptown, got Lorna some food, and spent the morning and halfway through the afternoon with my aunt, who had yet another nurse coming for assessment. I also fielded quite a few phone calls from the agencies about people coming for various appointments.

Lorna needed a few days off after her 48 hour shift, so the agency booked some other people, though I'm happy that on Thursday we had Lakeisha, who was new since she'd been home and who we really liked. Someone else was with Aunt Isabel when she died. But I'm glad I saw her on Wednesday and I'm glad Lakeisha was there for most of the day Thursday.

Friday was meant to be a grading papers day, but it became a fielding phone calls and running Isabel-related errands day.

If we're friends on FB, you've seen my two posts:

#1. The two things Isabel valued most in the world were her independence and her intellect. Her physical disabilities had taken away the former -- she was going to need 24/7 attendance (luckily she had saved & invested very well and had the money for it, at least for the near future) and as Parkinsonian dementia got worse, she was losing the latter. She was tired and it was ready for her to go.


#2. The police sealed the apartment. So my mom, who's the executor, is coming down and can't get into the apartment. She's meeting with the funeral director on Monday, and we are meeting together with the lawyer before I go to campus Tuesday morning. And we can't get in and the police were rude and dismissive and basically treated me like a crazy person because I raised my voice. If someone told me at 5am, when I'd just lost a family member, that I could come by and pick up the keys, and then when I was there (in a rainstorm so intense I was soaked despite umbrella and raincoat) they tell me a different story, and *actually think I should have had the presence of mind to get the name of the person I spoke to at 5am when my relative just died* then they are neither kind nor logical. *Everyone* else I have been dealing with, from the agencies and lawyer and building and etc. has been super kind and helpful. But not the cops.

I went to the building anyway and expressed my concerns to the super (who had assumed she was just rehospitalized) and a coop board member who fortuitiously was taking her dog for a walk just while I was there. They reassured me and put me in touch with the managing agency, and everyone (except the police, apparently) is on my side.

But mom will have to sleep here, even though the apartment is empty, because if we break the seal, we're subject to arrest. (She's obsessive/phobic about cleaning, and you may guess my apartment has fallen into disarray. But as I've said to M, I'll vacuum and change the cat boxes, and I want her to see what all this has done to my ability to cope -- I'm grading papers this morning, not scrubbing floors.) And there are a lot of records we don't have access to. This is ironic because I have been handling Aunt Isabel's affairs since early July and everything was IN MY APARTMENT until Isabel went home a few weeks ago, when I moved her documents back to her place. Hell, I had her *wallet* in my possession for almost 3 months, and returned it when she went home.

Our lawyer is going to help us get back in. He says it's good that the original will is in the apartment (I know just where, because I found it, photocopied and scanned it, and then returned it) because we need it and the surrogates' court will have to let us in.

But *swearwords* my 82 year old mother is taking an 8 hour train ride from Buffalo and she can only stay in NYC for a few days because she is sole caregiver for my 85 year old father, who's had several strokes and walks with walker very hesitantly and sometimes falls. (Wonderful family friend Chrissy is staying with him for a few days.) And we can't even get into the apartment to get the bloody documents we need for her to start doing her work as executor. (Aunt Isabel intended to add me as co-executor but never got around to it and sometimes was convinced that it had already been done, but it hadn't. So yeah, I'll be doing all the work, but mom will be the executor.)

Also, stupid stuff. Lorna left some of her belongings in the apartment and I can't return them to her until we can get in. I spent all summer keeping Aunt Isabel's plants alive for her because she cares about them. I spent most of the summer clearing out the apartment to de-hoard it and get it made safe for her to come home to. In fact, since early July, I HAVE SPENT MORE TIME IN THE APARTMENT THAN ISABEL HAS!!! There is fresh food in the fridge (which I bought for her) which is *going to go bad*. And although her mail was forwarded to my address some time ago, a lot of it was still going there and her mailbox will explode, and her mailbox key? In the apartment.

SO BLOODY RIDICULOUS! Apparently they seal the apartment so that no one who is not next of kin can go in and take things. Except next of kin/the executor is my mother and neither she nor my cousins (who live in Ohio and near DC; I am the only local one) have any objection to my taking *anything* I want considering how much time and energy I gave to Aunt Isabel over the past four months. They've said so. But honestly, I need to get in there to get bills and financial records so we can start cancelling things (everything except the power) and save the plants and clean out the fridge and etc.

Beyond exhausted. And did not get the grading done that I thought would happen this Friday/weekend when I left the office Thursday evening.

Date: 2016-10-23 07:01 pm (UTC)
retsuko: (tea room)
From: [personal profile] retsuko
I'm so sorry to hear about your Aunt, and that the subsequent red tape and rude behavior from the cops making things more difficult. You and your family are in my thoughts.

Date: 2016-10-24 02:54 pm (UTC)
dragonfly: stained glass dragonfly in iridescent colors (Default)
From: [personal profile] dragonfly
Good God. So sorry! I don't understand why *the executor* isn't allowed in. It's crazy.

Date: 2016-10-24 09:04 pm (UTC)
lexin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lexin
Oh, this is awful, I am so sorry you lost your aunt and are landed with this chaos on top of it.

Date: 2016-10-25 05:09 am (UTC)
amaka: 19th-century woman curled up on a couch, reading a novel (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaka
I'm sorry.

I'm sorry for all the ridiculousness and absurdity. And the exhaustion it caused you.

I'm sorry for your loss. I know that she was probably ready to go, and that you and your mom may have been ready to let her go, but that still doesn't make it anything other than hard.

You've done so very much. Thank you for doing it all.

Date: 2016-10-23 12:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As I said, on FB, so sorry for your loss and for all these frustrating and anger-making things happening when you're still facing the most acute grief.

I'm afraid your mother will have a lot more estate business and probably a lot more trips to NYC (although, since your aunt did have some resources, it should be possible to have the estate's attorney do a lot of this work and bill the estate for it). Protip: get a lot more copies of the death certificate than you think you'll need, about 12,000 institutions will demand a certified copy. So it would be a good idea for Chrissy and your mother to sign up for the local respite care program to get some coverage for your father's care at those times.

If your aunt had a safe deposit box, your mother will not be allowed to open it without a representative from the state tax authorities there, so that'll have to wait until the appointment can be set up. Thank goodness the will isn't in there!

Date: 2016-10-23 01:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I've asked for 12 copies and I'll probably end up needing more.

I don't know anything about a safe deposit box, but luckily the will is in the apartment, and I've got a copy and a scan.

She cannot afford respite care, from the rates she's seen, and she was so overwhelmed by the paperwork involved that she's quite put off by it. And it's ironic that my aunt actually dissuaded my mother from coming to visit for fear that the 8 hour train ride would exhaust her too much.

Goddamit, I should have been executor. I'm gonna do all the work anyway.

Date: 2016-10-23 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Check the Eldercare Locater, respite care is usually one of the more affordable things, because there are public-sector and philanthropic programs that are income-based. It would be great for your parents to have a GCM for their contingency planning, and I'd eat my Peggy Carter hat if their GCM can't sort out the paperwork so your mother won't have to do it.

You're definitely going to have to do a lot of estate administration to spare your mother the burden, but if you can accept the estate being smaller, much of the work can be shifted to the estate's attorney (realistically, the estate attorney's paralegal). There's an old saying: "Fast, good, cheap, pick any two," and since you have far too much work and are emotionally involved, then throwing money at problems that can be solved that way may be your best choice.

Date: 2016-10-23 03:34 pm (UTC)
ancarett: Penny is SO busted! (BBT So Busted Leonard Penny)
From: [personal profile] ancarett
Sympathies! I know how hard this has been on you. You're right that, if your mother is coming to your apartment, you shouldn't have to sugar-coat the impact that this has had. Hopefully it will make her more mindful about her own choices, going forward.

The police thing is ridiculous in the extreme. What a bunch of idiots!

You are right that you should have been the executor. With the elderly, it's not a job for a peer but for someone of the younger generation. My dad did this for his aunt and it was by far the wisest thing, even though she lived in Fargo and we lived in Indiana. Her sister couldn't have coped with a tenth of the issues!

Date: 2016-10-23 03:38 pm (UTC)
lynnenne: (mood: hug)
From: [personal profile] lynnenne
I'm very sorry for your family's loss, and for all the frustration the police are causing you. :(

Date: 2016-10-23 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am sorry for your loss though it sounds like your aunt was ready to go. The police being such assholes is making a sad situation a frustrating, impossible situation and to what purpose?

It's too bad that you weren't made the executor of your aunt's estate but what's done is done. You've already shouldered the responsibility of looking after the estate which should make cutting through the red tape of liquidating and distributing her assets a bit easier *fingers crossed*

Again, I'm sorry this is happening. I hope after clearing up the police situation it's fairly smooth sailing.

Date: 2016-10-23 04:16 pm (UTC)
ext_106804: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sorry for your loss. I hope the police allow you and your mom in soon.

In NYC things are done at a slower pace. When my Dad passed upstate, we got the death certificate right away. We were told, that in NYC it would have taken longer than the 2 days it took upstate.

Date: 2016-10-23 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm very sorry for your loss.

It's such a shame, the way death affects every thing around it. Please take care of you and know that things will work out.


Date: 2016-10-23 05:07 pm (UTC)
ext_2351: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I am so sorry for your loss.


And so sorry for the way the police have treated/been treating you.

How horrible.

Date: 2016-10-23 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sorry for your loss, and the difficult time the police are giving you.

Date: 2016-10-23 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sorry for your loss, thinking of you x

Date: 2016-10-23 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The police are being ridiculous. I mean really -- WTF?! I hope that between the lawyer, the co-op board member and the super you can get in soon -- preferably while your mother is there. The super obviously knows you and the situation. Grrr Aargh indeed about the police.

Your mother probably will be too upset at dealing with Isabel's apartment that she won't notice that your apartment isn't Better Homes and Gardens ready. I hope. Is there any way that she, as executor, can assign you as co-executor to assist with legalities? I honestly don't know -- just asking. What happens if the executor is unable to take on all of the duties? There must some legal way around it -- I just am clueless.

I do echo the recommendation to order more death certificates than you think you'll need. I say this from experience with both parents. Just when you think it's all taken care of, somebody else needs a copy. :(

Hugs and love.

Date: 2016-10-24 05:57 am (UTC)
ext_5774: (Teen Wolf- (video) Dylan's nose)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sorry for your loss and that, on top of everything else, the cops are making things more difficult for you.

Date: 2016-10-24 01:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sorry for your loss - and for the buttheadedness of the NYPD.

Date: 2016-10-25 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sorry for your loss

Date: 2016-10-27 10:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sorry for your loss!

And what an idiotic hassle! *hugs*

Date: 2016-11-05 12:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sorry for your loss - and what a horribly frustrating situation. I really hope you manage to work through it all without too much added stress :(


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