I’ve said before that it isn’t easy to extricate someone from his earthly bindings. I’ll offer one example because it points out the extremes of this truth.
Pop paid a nominal premium each month into a supplemental insurance policy. The policy paid a certain amount back to him for each day he or Mom spent in the hospital. All he needed was to fill out a simple form, and provide a copy of the hospital release form. Pop was very proud of his wise investment and, over the years, collected hundreds of dollars for each hospitalization.
This’ll sound weird, but Pop was alive before he died. So he is/was eligible to receive the supplemental benefit for his last week in the hospital. Then Mom fell, injured herself and went to the hospital for a week, so she is eligible for the benefit, too. Two claims must now be made. Mom’s isn’t a problem. As her Power of Attorney, I am able to conduct all of her business. Pop’s, however, is a different kettle of fish.
Because Pop is dead, my Power of Attorney is no longer valid; it expired with him. I had been told of this when the documents were drawn, and this news resonated in my memory. This being the case, I am no longer legally able to conduct his business in the same ways as has been the custom since 2005.
So, I should just find another way to do things, you say? Okay; let’s.
In order to file a claim for my father’s supplemental insurance benefit, I need to get a copy of the hospital release form. In order to get the hospital release form in the past, I simply needed to have a PoA on file with the Assisted Living facility in which Pop lived. But, as I’ve said, my PoA for Pop is no longer valid.
To replace it, I now need a document called a “Letter of Administration” which must be acquired at the office of the County Clerk of Courts: Estate Division. Working one-on-one with a very nice lady yesterday, we figured out that, given certain conditions, the Letter of Administration is not necessary at all. Rather, I needed an “Affidavit for collection of personal property of decedent” form. It took ninety minutes to work our way through this, and five officially-imprinted copies of the form costing eighty-nine dollars cash (not check or plastic) were in my possession.
Properly armed, I returned to the helpful Social Worker at Piedmont Place and tendered my Affidavit. She, in turn, called her peer at the corporate office to deliver this news and to fax it to corporate so that a hospital release form could be given to me. The peer, naturally, quibbled over the adequacy of the Affidavit (it wasn’t exactly what she’d asked for, after all), but after some toil, I’m sure I’ll receive my precious hospital form. I hope to get it soon because my filing deadline is September 30.
As I’ve written before, we prepared for the ultimate eventuality of death years ago. Everything we could do ahead of time was done. We also tried to anticipate matters following death. But, as my little story, above, indicates, there’s still quite a bit of work to do after someone dies. I make this point to ask the following: who takes care of this stuff when someone dies alone; without a family or Power of Attorney or Executor? Who dots the i’s and crosses the t’s then? I really don’t know the answer, and I’m really curious. Anyone?