Estate Matters

I saw my parents this weekend and my father wanted to discuss his estate matters. He had this list of things for us to do when he dies but I finally asked him if he has an estate lawyer. He said yes so I said, well, this is a fine list but the first thing to do is call the lawyer. He will be able to take care of many of these things for us and tell us what to do.

That’s my advice for everyone. Talk to a lawyer when dealing with estate things. It really does make life easier. When I went to the widow’s support group, there were often widows who were struggling to deal with finances and deeds and taxes and had no idea what they were doing. It’s hard to deal with at the best of times. Those in the group who had hired an attorney were much calmer about the whole thing.

Sheri Peters helped me and she was the best. I can’t say enough good things about her. If you live in northeast Ohio, or at least in Summit or Stark county, use her.  Her office is in Monroe Falls.

Congregational Church, State Route 77, Riceville, Crawford County, PA Photos from Survey HABS PA-514

Congregational Church, State Route 77, Riceville, Crawford County, PA Photos from Survey HABS PA-514



Dave got a nasty letter from RITA (Regional Income Tax Authority), the agency that collects local income tax for various communities, including ours. The letter stated that he had not paid his 2012 taxes and that he had better do so and that they were going to use his federal returns to determine his tax liability plus charge him penalties. And if he didn’t pay, they would subpoena him to appear at a hearing.

I meant to call them, I really did, but I forgot. So, they sent him a summons to a hearing, demanding that he appear at city hall on a certain date and time. And he was told to bring CASH. And again he was told that they were going to use his federal return to determine his tax liability.

So, now I was irritated. The tone of the letter was clearly adversarial. I thought about just ignoring this too so that I could see what would happen next but then my adult self stepped in.

I called the number, explained that my husband had died and so could not make it to the hearing (I did actually say that…I know.) The woman who answered the phone politely   asked for the date of his death and said “I’ll update our records and I’m sorry for your loss.”

The person was polite, professional, and not snarky. The letters were written with the assumption that the recipient was a deadbeat, refusing to pay taxes. I’m not sure that this is the right tone for the initial contact. I think I threw out the letters or I would post them here for everyone to see.  I don’t think I would have cared so much except for the continual repetition of using his federal return. If they were using his federal return, they would have seen that he didn’t have one.

Anyway, Dave is off the hook for failing to pay his local income tax.

"doing my taxes" by Heather Harvey is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“doing my taxes” by Heather Harvey is licensed under CC BY 2.0



OK, this is a sign of something but I’m not sure what.

Right around the time that Dave died, I received a letter from PNC where I do my banking saying that because Dave and I were such good customers, they were assigning us a personal banking assistant.

This guy has been so helpful to me. My banking needs now go something like this. I call or email the assistant and he takes care of it for me. I worked with him on changing the mortgage on my house. He arranged for a safe deposit box for me. He opened a savings account for me.

Most recently I called him and told him I want to buy a car. He had a loan and check to me in 2 days that I can use if I need it. One phone call and that was it.

I guess it makes sense for PNC because it’s a lot easier to give them my business because I just call this guy.

So, is this a sign that I’m lazy? Or relying on convenience? I think it’s just convenience because I still am checking out auto loan rates.

Hmm, now that I think about this, I’m not sure if I ever removed Dave’s name from my checking account. I better call him.

More news on that car title

Back in March I posted that I finally had received the information from the bank to allow me to transfer the car into my name. Wrong!!! The revised title came this week with a letter that says I have 30 days to get this transferred.

They took 8 months and I get 30 days.

The estate lawyer told me that the car loan would be the hardest one to handle. Boy was she right.


Car Title–Finally

Scion XB

Thanks to The Toad at Flickr

I finally got notice that the car loan on Dave’s car has transferred into my name. Actually, Dave’s estate has been notified that the loan has been transferred to somebody else. I haven’t actually received notice in my name!

It’s taken seven months for the paperwork to be handled and transferred. I’m really sorry that I didn’t just pay off the loan, get the title, and get the car transferred to my name.

Now I get to deal with the DMV on changing the car into my name. I’m hoping that will take less than 7 months.