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When Someone Dies

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Chapter 1: As Death Approaches
• Who's in charge before the death?
• Does the person have an advance medical directive, also called a durable power of attorney for health care?
• If the person prepared an advance directive/durable power of attorney for health care...
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Practical Help

If you’re visiting this website, there’s a good chance someone you love has just died. Both of us have recently lost loved ones, and we’ve endured the grief that now consumes you. But this is not a book about grief or grieving. This is a succinct, step-by-step guide to all the practical things you must do after someone dies. Read more

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There seems to be one major aspect missing to your book. I read the entire book and have done my best to do everything right. My mom passed away 3 months ago with approximately $3K in the bank, overdue bills, and a house worth between $40K and $50K full of junk from yard sales and in major disrepair. Nothing in the house was of real value. And she had no insurance policies. I needed to use personal funds to pay for the funeral and the expenses of getting the house to a barely livable level so that I could take a leave of absence from work to clean out a house filled with items that were either destroyed by mice or worth less than a dollar each at a yard sale (which is how she got the junk). All of which was fine because we'd sell the house and I'd get repaid. As I found a buyer, MassHealth comes along and makes a claim against the estate for $453,653.16. Your book left me totally unprepared for such a thing. My mom died less than a month after her 72nd birthday and lived at home. She was in and out of the hospital at the end and had a stay in rehab. Then she was in a facility for the last 10 days of her life. I knew the estate could be charged for the 10 days of long term care. But that is not what they are asking for repayment of. They are asking for 100% repayment of all medical bills they have ever paid. This is more than a person with poor insurance ends up paying for medical expenses. Everything that was done, was a waste of time and money. Paying to get a will was a waste of time and money. You might have mentioned this up front in your book. The fact that MassHealth (medicaide) can make a claim on the estate for more than 10 times the value of the state is a bit outrageous and worth prominent note in a book like this.
Doreen, Thank you for the note. What a horrible experience. You should consult with an attorney. It appears that they may be charging you for stuff that is covered by Medicare or Medicaid.  Good luck.
Parents have drafted a will with a lawyer I am not entirely comfortable with, for various reasons. Can I take the will to another lawyer or do I need to use with lawyer that drafted the will? Thank you for your help, love the book!
If the will has been signed, you do not need to work with the current lawyer. You can take an original and give it to another lawyer for administration. If the will is in draft form, then you can do pretty much anything you want, including working with a new lawyer. However, since it is... read more
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