That's Finally Over

For nearly the past three years, I've been acting as the Personal Representative (i.e., executor) for the estate of our friend Anne Braude, who died in August 2009   Yesterday morning morning I went to the estate attorney's office and wrote out the checks for the final distribution to all of Anne's heirs, the final piece of paperwork that will close the estate.

It's a relief.  I knew it would be a big job, and that it would be hard to find enough time to get it done in a timely manner.  Which I didn't; I thought it would take about a year.  Turned out bigger, more complicated, more difficult than I expected.

I initially thought Anne's only heirs were an aunt in California and an uncle in New York.  Whoops!  Turned out the cousins I thought were the children of the uncle in NY were actually the children of a different, deceased, uncle.  So those two cousins were heirs, too.  Whoops!  Turned out there were still other cousins, by other aunts and uncles, that Anne had never mentioned.  Whoops!  Turned out there was still another uncle who had either abandoned or been disowned by the family in the 1930's -- accounts varied -- so I had to hire a genealogical researcher to see if he or his children could be tracked down.  No, as it turned out.

(That part of dealing with the estate would have been simpler if Anne had written a will to express her specific wishes for distributing her assets and belongings.  I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Write a will, people!)

It also wouldn't be too unfair to say of Anne that she never met a piece of paper she didn't want to keep.  Very little of which was organized, filed or stored neatly.  Everything had to be gone through to sort out any papers that might pertain to the estate's assets.  I still have boxes of Anne's personal papers and correspondence that will need further sorting and organizing, but the financial documents are done with now.  (I'm planning to eventually set up a blog or webpage to showcase some of her writing and interests.  There's some pretty cool stuff among those personal papers.)

If I had a time machine to do it over, I'd try to take several months leave of absence from work to get a running full-time start at everything, rather than trying to eke out a few hours here and a few hours there.  As it is, I pretty much give myself a "C' grade in dealing with it.  (If I ever have to represent another estate, I'd do a lot better.  I hope to hell I never have to represent another estate.)

Of course, if I had a time machine, what I'd go back to when Anne first started feeling ill and drag her to the ER right then, when she still had a good chance of a full recovery.  She spent three months in hospital, most of it in ICU, most of it in a coma or a non-lucid state, before she died.  The only reason there was any financial estate left to distribute at all was because the hospital wrote off over a half-million dollars of her bill, several days before she died.

Anne with other members of the DePauw University team
on the television show GE COLLEGE BOWL in 1962.
(The show's host Allen Ludden is at center.)
They were undefeated in five (the maximum) appearances.

No comments: