Friday, February 21, 2014

I Probably Should Have Planned That Better

A couple of years ago, my Dad added me to his bank accounts.  This was after my mother passed away, and just at the start of what I now recognize as his debilitation. He never veered off into full-on dementia or anything like that, but became more and more forgetful. Didn't remember conversations, quips he'd just made, things like that.  Anyway, I started tracking his finances and paying bills, and he added me to his accounts to facilitate that.

In the initial wake of his death, this actually made things bunches easier.  We didn't all have to pitch in to pay bills until we could start using some of the estate money or anything like that -- since he added me to his accounts, I just wrote checks against that money.  Yeah, my name was on it, but it was his money.  Didn't feel right to use it for anything but his bills...

He had this one account that only had a few hundred dollars in it, and I've been letting it drift for the past 6 months.  It wasn't hurting anything to let it lie, and he had a a decent chunk of change in the other account to which I had easy online access.  But, the easy account dwindled down to a few dollars, so I knew it was time to close the other account and siphon that money to help cover the electricity bills for his house (still working on clearing that out and selling it, but that is another post).

His bank branch is a stone's throw away from my office Since today was a fairly meeting-free day at work, I decided to carpe diem.  Or carpe argentum?  Anyway, I knew that this task would be tinged with emotion. Saying the words, "My father passed away," well, that's never easy.

Here's what got me:  she went to retrieve a few papers after I turned over my license and his death certificate.  When she sat back down, I glanced at what she'd placed on the desk as a reference.  It was the little slip of paper that my father and I signed three years ago when he added me to the account.  There was his signature, a scrawl I've seen thousands of times, floating next to mine.  Memories of that day came flooding back, and I was very grateful that the bank staffer had to get up and make a photocopy of some other documents.  I didn't need her to see me getting all melty over a scrap of paper, no did I?

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