The Silver Life - Online community and resource for active Silver Surfers

Online Community & Resource for Active Silver Surfers

The Silver Life

Online Community & Resource for Active Silver Surfers

When Everyone Has Gone Home

Making Changes In Challenging Times
The IRS is Calling…Is It For Real This Time?The IRS is Calling…Is It For Real This Time?

I recently made a condolence call to the wife of one of my clients.

Her house was full of friends and family who were doing their best to help the grieving widow. Some brought food, others flowers while the children sat nearby to comfort their mother. It was a normal scene under these circumstances… it is the scene of real life and how the death of a loved one just plays out all the time.

One week later, a different scene began to unfold: she was now alone, everyone had gone back to their normal lives, but her life was far from normal. Her partner was now gone. The house seemed unnaturally quiet, and then the confusion.

She called me and with a choked voice, said she needed help. Mail had piled up with notices from the brokerage her husband used, bank statements and inquiries from credit card companies, and a letter from an insurance company who mentioned a policy she did not know her husband owned.

Medicare, social security, pension and retirement plans… all mail now sitting on a desk which she says she just cannot open.

We have been told that there are several stages of grief, but what I have seen in my experience, is that confusion should be added to that list… and this needs to be addressed.

I set up a meeting with my client’s widow and had her review with me all the mail that had piled up. I reviewed her husband’s will, looked at the insurance policies, and bank statements, the retirement accounts and the tax returns, and all new bills and credit card statements.

I prepared a list for her: what needs to be done first, who needs to be called, what banks and brokerages to contact. If she wants to make these calls, fine, or does she want me to act for her and make these contacts? A review of her husband’s will set up priorities, and then I prepared a binder for her with instructions and “follow ups”.

After a few meetings I could see her demeanor change… she could see some daylight through this difficult time. She now had a “roadmap” as to how to proceed; she had a binder of instructions which she could refer to… and someone she could call to ask the questions that invariably come up.

My “new” client has a long road in front of her. The stages of grief, dealing with a different life now, but the confusion that seemed to paralyse her has given way to an orderly method she can follow.

Take it for what it is… it’s just as I see it.

To find out more how we can help someone who is suddenly solo:

Share This Article

About the Author: Leonard F. Baer

Leonard Baer's practice focuses on Elder Law, and Estate Planning. His previous experience was in the area of complex criminal litigation, serving as Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division for The United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Baer was recognized by the Office of The Attorney General, as one of the top prosecutors in the country during his tenure. He has been included in North Carolina Top Rated Lawyers, a distinction awarded to those lawyers recognized by their colleagues as leaders in their field. He has also been recognized by the Florida Bar, for his efforts in representing seniors and their families, who are victims of scams and fraud. Mr. Baer is an AV rated lawyer listed in Martindale-Hubbell, and has been selected for inclusion in their Bar Registrar of Preeminent Lawyers, which for over 90 years, includes only those select law practices that have earned their highest rating. He has been designated by Martindale-Hubbell as preeminent in his field, and in the top 5% of all lawyers practicing in the United States. Mr. Baer has also been ranked by AVVO, an online Legal Directory of over 200,000 lawyers nationally, as Superb, their highest rating. He served as adjunct professor of Sports Law at The University of Miami, and is a frequent lecturer on the topics of Elder Law, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Fraud Protection. He has been a columnist for several newspapers for over 13 years and currently has a nationally syndicated blog, “As I See It” with a readership of over 25,000. Leonard is a Guest Contributor of The Silver Life and has recently launched a new service called SuddenlySolo1 -

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Go to Top