GETTING THINGS IN ORDER

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
My sons, who live quite a long way from me, have taken compassionate leave from work to register my husbands death and all that comes with it, they are also helping me get started sorting out some accounts which were in my husbands name, they wanted to do the basics like changing his name to mine as they would have to leave when their compassionate leave finished to go back to their own homes and work.

I was always organised, I had to be, as I was my husbands carer for three years, so took on the handling of all the bills and banking. It surprised me how difficult some companies made it to just to cancel an account or change an account from his name to mine. Copy of the will, death certificate, marriage certificate, birth certificate all to cancel his £9 per month mobile phone account.

The biggest surprise came when my son rang the land registry about the house asking for details of how to change the name from my husbands to mine. When we married nearly 50 years ago, we purchased a house, but when we were given an appointment to sign the papers I had just had a baby so told my husband to put it in his name and we would change it later, we never did. A few years later he made a will leaving the house and everything else to me so we thought that would be the end of it. Thirty years further on, we have (would have) been married nearly 50 years but my husband has just died. My son was told by the land registry that wills are no longer accepted for large cash amounts and houses as they can easily be forged, and that wills are now only good enough for small amounts of money, jewellery etc. to ensure they are given to the people named in the will. We have now to go to probate thus costing me more money to get this sorted out.

Why can't the powers that be look at the will, look at the marriage certificate, look at the death certificate and use their common sense. I have enough on my plate with the death of a beloved husband without having to jump through hoops to sort things out that should really be straight forward. I am also surprised that in this day and age of technology, everything has to be done by posting papers and forms off to various companies thus taking three times as long.

We had a stair-lift installed by a well known company just over a year ago, we decided to take out a 4 year insurance to cover breakdown so we would get an emergency service if the lift had a fault, this put my husbands mind at rest, as he could not get upstairs without it and we paid over £500 for the insurance. I rang the company and was told they do not refund money paid even when there are a few years left on the contact. I told them that the contract has not started yet, it has only just been serviced under the purchase 12month warranty. They say we signed an agreement stating the money was non-refundable, I told them I didn't sign any agreement it was done over the phone and these conditions should have been pointed out to me at that time so I accused them of mis-selling. Other companies are giving money back for the unused months of road tax and car insurance etc. I have now to ring their head office. Don't these companies think we need every penny we can get our hands on when a husband or partner dies, as you lose their state pension, and any allowances they get for their disability also carers allowance if you receive it. That is up to nearly £1000 per month that you no longer receive. It is a massive loss in your income especially when you still have to maintain the property you now live in alone. My income is now approximately £400 per month from my own State Pension. But I cannot get any benefits as I am over the savings limit for claiming them, I could draw a bit of money out and stick it in a tin box under the bed and then claim benefits, but I am not like that.

You spend three years or more caring for your husband etc. saving hospitals and the NHS thousands of pounds, then when they die you are left with a lonely life as all your friends have gone, fed up of you always cancelling days out, you also try to manage your small income and start digging into your savings to pay for diy jobs around the house, or a gardener etc. etc. A carers life is a non-thankful job by everyone but the person you are caring for.
The amount of paperwork to do after a death can be overwhelming, and very upsetting. There are no prizes given for getting it all done as soon as possible. No company should ask for anything more than a death certificate to cancel a contract, because after someone has died the contract is automatically invalid. My mum had to apply for probate after dad died, she thought the house was in joint names, but it wasn't. However much you don't like the rules must be obeyed, but there is no rush. Whether or not it is in your name does not matter greatly unless you want to sell it, so take your time, adjusting to your new situation is possibly more important. I concentrated on the things which represented money, the more money involved, the quicker I dealt with it. For example, if you tell the Council that you are now living in the house alone, then you will get a 25% discount. Ring the Carers UK helpline and make sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to. If your savings are just a bit too high, have you thought about Pension Credit, for example. The helpline are experts on benefits. Sometimes, the harsh reality is that you cannot continue living as you are long term without making some changes. Delay any major decisions for a year if possible, until you have settled down a bit, and you have experienced living on your own for a while. It takes some getting used to.
Thank you for replying. My sons wanted to get the ball rolling so there would be less for me to do in the coming weeks when they went home. I have told them with regards to everything else I am waiting until next year to make any drastic changes, we were thinking of getting new central heating installed for the winter, thinking of getting a new bathroom suite with a shower so it was easier for my husband, thinking of getting a new suite with reclining chairs to make it easier for my husband to stand up, this has all now come to a stop, I am thinking whether to carry on with our plans or wait until next year to begin. I find myself thinking, 'I will have a word with my husband and see what he wants to do' then I remember, he is no longer here for me to ask. The very last thing my husband did for us (for me really) was to ensure the outside of the house was in excellent condition, new soffits and guttering, new doors, new facias etc. I have only the inside to bother about, we couldn't do much these last years so things need upgrading and I am loathe to even think about changing anything. I just feel so lost and cold inside and still close my eyes and see him sat on his chair, television on and his laptop on his knee, asking me if the water had been cut off as he hadn't had a cup of tea for a while. I have my sons and grandchildren but it honestly does not help as all I want is my husband back.
Just wait a while. I know you feel you should be busy doing something, because life will have been so very busy of late. I found it took a long time to learn how to do nothing, comfortably. How to sit in my chair in my lounge, comfortably reading a magazine without feeling stressed. It will take time, but it will happen. If the outside of the house is fine, then there isn't much to worry about. The first major thing I did was to redecorate our bedroom, where my husband died. I moved the furniture in there too, so although it was the same room, it looked very different. In time, you will work out what is annoying you most inside. Then you can plan what you would like to do instead..a small step towards the future.
Hi sweething
I agree with bowlingbun, you really don't have to decide about things like new bathrooms and sofas at the moment. If the outside of the house is OK then it doesn't matter if the inside is not quite pristine. The time will come when you will be able to decide on things like that, but now is not the time. Get the money sorted out and maybe start on probate, but just take one day at a time, it is all so new and raw that it is impossible to see too far ahead.
Be gentle with yourself.
We spent 30 years making our cottage a really comfortable home. After my husband died, I couldn't bear to look at some things, hated others with a vengeance, everything evoked memories which just hurt so much, a real roller coaster of emotions. It's only when the roller coaster stops, and you can think rationally again, that you can really make proper decisions.
Just returned to forums after a while away and my oh my did this bring a smile to my face. I lost my wife 18 months ago and can echo everything you have stated, yes it is a harrowing time but the hoops to jump through are unbelievable. I had to go through several months wait before I could really move to get things done, post mortem, court to get probate, transfer of things to my name, etc., but the stairlift problem we also had. I had just bought a new one that had scarcely been used but were the company interested in helping, no, of course not, why should they, they have your money! I advertised to sell it and best offer was £400, local council would take it out to offer to someone on their list for free! Life at a time like this can kick you in the teeth but keep at it, keep a smile although it is not easy and eventually the sun will shine for you.
I would like to thank all you lovely people for replying to my post. It is now three weeks to the day my husband died. Since that day my sons and grandchildren have being coming and going all the time they have been absolutely wonderful. We have three bedrooms but I slept in one my husband in the other and all his medical equipment etc. in the third. No one could stay over so I only saw them for a few hours at a time. My first job was to move back into our bedroom then I bought bright new curtains and bedding for the other two bedrooms now I can have people stop over, tonight I have two grandsons staying and last night I had my granddaughter staying. It really does take my mind off things but when they go it is lonely again. I have given my sons and their wives a key each so that if they are ever on a night out in our city rather than pay for an hotel they can just let me know and they can stay at our house. I was getting a shower the other night and the bathroom extractor fan dropped out of the ceiling and hit me on the head and broke into lots of pieces. I then went downstairs and the fluorescent light in the kitchen wasn't working. I went into the garage for a new light fitting (my husband got lots in before he died and showed me how to change them) and I noticed the garage roof was leaking. Three things that had never happened for 10 years. My son is doing the light fitting for me and putting some weather seal on the roof but I am waiting for a new bathroom fitting next year so they can put the extractor fan in then. The hardest thing for me is that I will never see my husband or hear his voice again and that is what is breaking my heart.
Just to say ...

One of the things that comforted me most - including sleeping in the marital bed 'next to my husband' again... - was dreaming of him. In dreams he was simply 'there' again (ie, 'here') and it was so, so lovely to feel that - even when I awoke in teh morning I could still 'feel' his presence again in my head, and in my life.

Such dreams are rarer now, but they are still so lovely and comforting.

I like to hink he sends them to me when I really need them, from wherever he is now....

It's coming up to six years now since he died, and yet he is in my head, and in my heart, for ever. He will never leave me.

Kind wishes, at a time of heartbreak - Jenny.
It is now 28 days since my beloved husband died, I have had another crying day, I see something on the television or read about something in the paper and stand up to go and tell my husband about it and it hits me in the stomach and I remember. Since he died it has been both my sons birthdays and our 47th wedding anniversary, there is Christmas coming up, which will be the worst for me as we both absolutely loved Christmas. I am now going to my sons for a few days until it is over as I cannot bear to be in the house on our special day, that would finish me off totally. All the medical equipment and oxygen has been collected, the scooter and stairlift are in the garage. Our house is no longer a home, it is somewhere for me to live, we loved our home although it needed a heck of a lot of modernisation inside as my husband could not face the upheavel. I have cleaned out kitchen cupboards and given god knows how much food away to my sons as I bought lots of different things for my husband to get his taste buds working to try and keep his weight up. Not even heard from the Probate office yet, it is a good job I had a ISA account in my name otherwise I would not have any money to live on apart from my state pension as the banks refuse to let me touch the accounts in joint names until I get probate. He had a private pension of which I am now the beneficiary but it is still going through god knows what before I can have it, I have direct debits to pay, heating bills, water bills, council tax etc. etc. so thank god for my ISA which I cashed in. Why are companies so unhelpful, I wish I had said nothing and waited for the accounts to mature and then filled in the forms to have the money transferred into the current account which was in joint names, no-one would have known anything about it. It does not pay to be honest and up front. I had to pay for my husbands funeral which was a few thousand pounds and came out of my savings account. It is heartbreaking enough without worrying where the next penny is coming from, hopefully I should have enough to see me through until everything is sorted out but the papers the hospital gave me about probate stated it could be 12 months before it is sorted. Why are things so difficult. I honestly thought a will would be all I needed. Why do we make wills out through solicitors in the first place, why not just write a letter and sign it if you need to get probate for the deceased estate if it is worth more than £5000.
I feel like just giving up, I do not have the strength to jump through hoops anymore.