Author Topic: Shame and tragedy  (Read 8704 times)

CU Tiger

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Shame and tragedy
« on: October 18, 2016, 04:08:11 PM »
Last week I became aware of a story that belongs here, somewhere, though it's not exactly shame or comedy. It's a shame and a tragedy, although not exactly a surprise, considering bad choices made.

A woman I have known for years just took care of her partner through five months of brain cancer.
Irene had been with her partner, an older man, for many years, something like a decade. Her partner, Brian, was still married to another woman (the Wife) at the time of his death, although they'd been separated for years.

The first signs that Brian was sick were things like he stopped paying his share of the bills, including taxes, utilities, rent, etc. He just stopped and said he was not going to pay them, because he didn't want to. At first, Irene thought he was having a mental breakdown or late life crisis (he was in his late 60s) but then they found out about the tumor.

Things got bad fast, and she was there for him. She cooked for him, did his laundry, took care of all the necessary things, as well as getting him hospice and working with them to make his last months as comfortable as possible. She put her own work pretty much on hold, and since she is in a business where there is no paycheck, you eat what you kill, her income fell to almost nothing.
He died and she woke up to the following facts:

Brian never updated his will, so according to the will made decades ago, the Wife gets anything he has.
Irene and Brian never married, so no pension or social security benefits.
He'd been paying half the bills for years, and now she has to cover everything herself, on a temporarily reduced income.

Because she devoted herself to him, she's made almost nothing for half a year. She has little in the bank, and no source of ready income, except for hitting her business as hard as she can right now. Irene is selling everything she has that she doesn't need to get enough cash to cover her rent, food, gas, and utilities.

Friends are helping by covering some of her bills for a month or two. Others are buying groceries and gas cards to get them over the gap between now and the time she closes some deals and gets her commission.

That's the sad story. I feel sorry for her on so many levels, she lost her partner of many years and can't really grieve him in peace, because she's scared and mad.

I can see where bad choices were made, both by Brian and by Irene, and if I could hop in a time machine, I'd go back and warn them. Sans DeLorean, all her friends can do is feel bad for Irene, and do what we can to support her and help her. I am looking at anything I do for her as a gift, because even if she gets in the position to pay me back, I don't need the money. I am in a place where I can give generously. I really believe she will be okay in the end, because she is a tough person, and willing to work hard and do what it takes to get back on her feet. This is a blip in her life, a setback, not the end of her story.

I guess the reason I am sharing this is a warning to people sharing their life with someone without knowing what the financial facts are. Married or not, do you know what the will says? Is there a will? Where is it filed? Do you know if there is insurance, and if there is, where is the policy? Is the policy still in effect? Where are your bank accounts and investment accounts, and how much dosh is in them?  I know there are some partnerships/marriages where one person takes care of financial decisions and pays the bills and keeps things up to date, but I think the other partner/spouse needs to KNOW the facts of where, what, how much, and what do I do afterwards?

Do you have an emergency stash so if your partner loses it, or spends all the money in your joint accounts on hookers and blow, you can get by for a while? I am addressing most of these questions with women in mind, because women are most often the ones that get left with nothing to show if a relationship of years goes away because of death or divorce/your husband running off to Vegas with a bleach-blonde bimbo. But it can happen to a man too. Your wife could spend every single cent of your cash on scratch-offs and leave you for Julio the pool boy. What would you do if you woke up without partner, without money, without plan? You'd be so much better off if you knew where you stood and had some plan in place.

meghan88

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2016, 05:17:38 PM »
That is a sad story and a cautionary tale. 

I know of a similar story.  The brother of a friend dropped dead (fatal heart attack) at the age of 61 a couple of years ago.  He was a go-getter, entrepreneur with a ton of academic credentials, had all kinds of irons in the fire BUT had just quit a tenured university job and had no life insurance or other benefits.  His wife had been employed but was a stay-at-home mom to a special needs child who was an adult at the time of her husband's death.  (I say "was", because the child then passed on a few months ago.)

This was just at the start of the economic downturn in Alberta when the price of oil plummeted.  Wife was forced to sell the house and deal with everything and had no means to cope, on many levels.

I think it's a good wake-up call to think about planning.  Every family's situation is different, but I think a good rule of thumb would be to ask "what if" every now and then, and plan accordingly.

Dezrah

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2016, 05:21:12 PM »
I'm so sorry for your friend.

I have a sneaking suspicion my sisterís MIL might be in a similar situation to your friend.  MILís been with the same man for something like 15 years.  Iím pretty sure theyíre not married and Iíve heard a rumor that he might still be technically married to his first wife to this day.

The two of them are wonderful people.  Heís a very successful businessman, philanthropist, and occasional board advisor.  Sheís a kept woman with a very active, generous, and adventurous social life (she recently spent a whole month in South America by herself to help local women set up small businesses with an aim at appealing to tourists).  He effectively raised her three children from her first marriage, including my sisterís husband. 

There are so many weird red flags though.  Despite this long-term bond, BIL really doesnít have a relationship with the older siblings from his step-fatherís first marriage.  Some lingering bitterness?  Then I heard that for their senior year of high school, Mom effectively stopped living with her kids so that she could be with step-dad full time.  Why were they not all living together?  What kind of mother does that?  Surely I'm missing some details here.  Then BIL had to go into CC debt for a several months to cover the funeral costs for his estranged bio-father.  Why wouldnít his wealthy and otherwise very supportive parents help him out with something like that?

Iím at the point where I just shrug and figure theyíre all consenting adults here.  I just really, really, really hope step-dadís squared his assets so that mom is okay if something were to happen to him.  Fortunately BIL is very financially minded, so surely this has crossed his mind as well. 

Us2bCool

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2016, 05:24:42 PM »
It makes me so sad when I see this happen, but it also frustrates me to see women surrender their finances to their partner even under the best of circumstances.

Years ago I read Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. The book description makes it sound like an instruction manual, which it partially is, but the author really approaches it from a bigger picture. He talks about how his grandmother handled all the money in his family, and as a financial advisor, he refused to talk about financial plans with a single member of a married couple without involving the other partner. He had a lot of sad stories about high-earning men who never upgraded their life insurance, forgot to upgrade their beneficiaries, and made other terrible decisions while their stay-at-home wives blindly trusted them to take care of everything. News flash: if you make 250K a year and own a 3000 square foot house, a million dollar life insurance policy is not going to set her for life.

okits

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2016, 08:08:27 PM »
How unfortunate.  At least Irene has the social capital of friends who have sympathy and money to give her, and she has employable skills to earn a living.  Could be a lot worse. But pre-arranging disability and life insurance, having a updated will, and marrying (if he intended her to have his pension and SS benefits) would have been infinitely better. 

(An angle I just thought of: perhaps staying married and the wife being beneficiary of his estate, insurance, and retirement benefits was an agreement between Brian and his wife to enable a easier separation?  Perhaps the only one in the dark about how things would play out was Irene.  Or it could be that they just always thought they'd have more time to get their affairs in order.)

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2016, 08:29:18 PM »
Oh, that is so sad!  Can Irene bill his estate for the 50% of housing expenses he didn't pay in his last months, plus bill for her five months' time as a caretaker?

Capsu78

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2016, 09:01:52 AM »
Just heard of an old HS classmate who died suddenly, early 60's, leaving a couple of divorced wives and a adult child behind.  Yes, completely understandable, even by him why he had several ex-wives as they were pretty good about telling him why he had ex wives.  He fancied himself a playa both professionally and in his personal life complete with fantastic vacations and all the best toys and many of them.  Now his "young adult", who possibly lacks the skillset to write a personal check without help (both shame and tragedy) is left to "unwind" the estate of a "20 something 60 year old" who liked to get involved in creative deal making...What does one do when you can't find your deceased fathers assets other than ask his friends "Do you know where Dad kept his money?"... or how to liquidate his "beyond personal usage" stash of the non mustashian variety?  Guy had his big house up for sale and multiple high end toys parked in the garage and out on the lawn that the titles can't be located...predators offering to buy one of his Harleys for $5000...what a mess to unwind.

talltexan

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2016, 09:21:16 AM »
Capsu-
starting point to unwind the business dealings is to get the checking account. If you look through the last 12 months, you start to see things like checks written for insurance premia, etc. I had a mentor who took this approach and helped the widow of a client find this type of stuff.
~BEN

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2016, 09:27:05 AM »
It makes me so sad when I see this happen, but it also frustrates me to see women surrender their finances to their partner even under the best of circumstances.

Years ago I read Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. The book description makes it sound like an instruction manual, which it partially is, but the author really approaches it from a bigger picture. He talks about how his grandmother handled all the money in his family, and as a financial advisor, he refused to talk about financial plans with a single member of a married couple without involving the other partner. He had a lot of sad stories about high-earning men who never upgraded their life insurance, forgot to upgrade their beneficiaries, and made other terrible decisions while their stay-at-home wives blindly trusted them to take care of everything. News flash: if you make spend 250K a year and own a 3000 square foot house, a million dollar life insurance policy is not going to set her for life.


Guses

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2016, 09:41:48 AM »
It makes me so sad when I see this happen, but it also frustrates me to see women people surrender their finances to their partner even under the best of circumstances.

FTFY. It can happen to anyone.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2016, 09:56:50 AM »
If they lived together openly and have records (even photos help), the surviving long-term partner may be able to collect the other's Social Security. Worth looking into.

Capsu78

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2016, 10:28:06 AM »
Capsu-
starting point to unwind the business dealings is to get the checking account. If you look through the last 12 months, you start to see things like checks written for insurance premia, etc. I had a mentor who took this approach and helped the widow of a client find this type of stuff.
~BEN

Good advice!  I will see if I can pass it along.

CU Tiger

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2016, 01:34:55 PM »
If they lived together openly and have records (even photos help), the surviving long-term partner may be able to collect the other's Social Security. Worth looking into.

I will tell her to investigate it. Any little bit would help.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2016, 02:22:51 PM »
It makes me so sad when I see this happen, but it also frustrates me to see women people surrender their finances to their partner even under the best of circumstances.

FTFY. It can happen to anyone.

A friend of mine was a paid caretaker to a sick woman who had no family around. For the last year of her life, the woman kept telling my friend and other people that my friend would get her house when she died. My friend never asked her if she had a will, she just counted on getting the house. Turns out there was a will, and whether the woman forgot, thought verbal promises overrode what was written, or was intentionally misleading, the will gave the house to an ex-coworker. My friend, who doesn't have much, was crushed. Maybe she felt uncomfortable asking the woman about a will, but counting on something like that without the legal docs in place is always a big mistake.

Making Cookies

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2016, 10:48:57 AM »
Empty promises, manipulation or good intentions. They all end up the same. I've seen the money carrot dangled in front of grown people and they can make some rash decisions for it.

Not good to enter into a domestic situation without some sort of legal protection - marriage, civil union or whatever. No guarantees without some paperwork.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2016, 01:58:12 PM »
If they lived together openly and have records (even photos help), the surviving long-term partner may be able to collect the other's Social Security. Worth looking into.

Some states have "common-law" marriage laws where if a couple lives together splitting bills or using joint bank accounts for a certain number of years they are legally considered married.  Not sure if this applies to your friend or how if works if with someone who is still married to someone else but it is worth checking into.

I will tell her to investigate it. Any little bit would help.

charis

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2016, 02:07:29 PM »
It makes me so sad when I see this happen, but it also frustrates me to see women people surrender their finances to their partner even under the best of circumstances.

FTFY. It can happen to anyone.

A friend of mine was a paid caretaker to a sick woman who had no family around. For the last year of her life, the woman kept telling my friend and other people that my friend would get her house when she died. My friend never asked her if she had a will, she just counted on getting the house. Turns out there was a will, and whether the woman forgot, thought verbal promises overrode what was written, or was intentionally misleading, the will gave the house to an ex-coworker. My friend, who doesn't have much, was crushed. Maybe she felt uncomfortable asking the woman about a will, but counting on something like that without the legal docs in place is always a big mistake.

That sucks, but I feel that the best way to handle being promised something in a will is to smile and nod and not expect anything.  Then be pleasantly surprised by the generosity if it comes to pass.

CU Tiger

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2016, 08:29:13 AM »
Some friends are giving Irene gift cards for gasoline and groceries, and another person paid her electic/gas bill, and I hope this will give her a bit of breathing room.

I agree with the sentiment that many people women give up their financial agency to a partner. It was not the case in my family, because my father made the money and my mother managed and spent it. I learned from her and have always been one who likes to be fully in the know and a full partner in any money decisions.

I also wonder how Irene's situation would be different if she had a decent EF, but that's a moot point.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2016, 02:37:06 PM »
Wow that is sad. So glad you guys are all helping her.  Irene sounds like a wonderful person.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2016, 06:07:58 PM »
This is a horrible story, and you're exactly right that we should all be sure that our legal issues are in order.  I know that some people on this board poo-poo marriage, but marriage does provide some security.  As does a will and insurance. 

This should be a hint to each and every one of us to put a bit of thought into our own preparedness. 

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2016, 07:41:49 PM »
Marriage does indeed confer right and entitlements on people. Over a thousand different kinds of tax incentives, inheritance breaks, two-for-one freebies, and other perks exist for married people in the USA, and that's not even includeing wedding gifts or bridal showers.

The cynic in me says that the reason marriage is incentivized so heavily is because it sucks too badly to be worthwhile for its own sake.

That being said, it's not just women who give up financial autonomy. Plenty of men in Eastern European cultures turn over their income and paychecks to their wives, who manage the money, and have no further say in how the money is spent or invested. However in the Americas I think it's more socially acceptable for women to cede financial control. Overall I do appreciate division of labor, but don't think it's healthy for either person to be in the dark about family finances even if it's voluntary.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2016, 08:27:40 PM »
This is a horrible story, and you're exactly right that we should all be sure that our legal issues are in order.  I know that some people on this board poo-poo marriage, but marriage does provide some security.  As does a will and insurance. 

This should be a hint to each and every one of us to put a bit of thought into our own preparedness.

Exactly. This is why I get so pissed off when people say 'Marriage is just a piece of paper'. It's just a piece of paper until you need to claim child support, move to another country, inherit property without being crippled by taxes, visit your spouse in the hospital while they're dying, etc. It's getting better with more widespread recognition of de facto relationships, but marriage is still the gold standard. During the same-sex marriage campaign in the US, one campaigner came up with a list of approximately 1,100 legal advantages that marriage conferred over other types of partnership, simply because gay people had so often run up against the cold hard reality of being shut out of marriage.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2016, 08:55:08 PM »
My wife hasn't been interested in the details of our journey to FI, but I bore her regularly with them anyway.   She knows where the list of accounts and passwords is.   She knows the big picture and where to dig for the details.


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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2016, 08:42:41 AM »
This is a horrible story, and you're exactly right that we should all be sure that our legal issues are in order.  I know that some people on this board poo-poo marriage, but marriage does provide some security.  As does a will and insurance. 

This should be a hint to each and every one of us to put a bit of thought into our own preparedness.

Exactly. This is why I get so pissed off when people say 'Marriage is just a piece of paper'. It's just a piece of paper until you need to claim child support, move to another country, inherit property without being crippled by taxes, visit your spouse in the hospital while they're dying, etc. It's getting better with more widespread recognition of de facto relationships, but marriage is still the gold standard. During the same-sex marriage campaign in the US, one campaigner came up with a list of approximately 1,100 legal advantages that marriage conferred over other types of partnership, simply because gay people had so often run up against the cold hard reality of being shut out of marriage.

We know a couple that went through alot of trouble to tie themselves to each other legally so they could share property, money, medical rights, their children, etc a decade plus before our state had even consider gay marriage.

I have no idea what that entailed at the time. At this point they are among the longest lasting relationships among our friends. I'm glad the legal protections and entitlements of marriage are available to all or almost all people here now. 

They are the example I think of when I suggest that social conservatives ought to worry more about the dangers of divorce than the dangers of homosexuality between consenting adults.

These stories of spouses or children who get shut out by their family or by poorly planned legal papers are heart wrenching.

To spend decades working to build relationships, raise children and so forth - only to be shut out in the cold at the end by legal papers - when a person needs the help the most is just terrible.

SisterX

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2016, 09:35:55 AM »
This is a horrible story, and you're exactly right that we should all be sure that our legal issues are in order.  I know that some people on this board poo-poo marriage, but marriage does provide some security.  As does a will and insurance. 

This should be a hint to each and every one of us to put a bit of thought into our own preparedness.

Exactly. This is why I get so pissed off when people say 'Marriage is just a piece of paper'. It's just a piece of paper until you need to claim child support, move to another country, inherit property without being crippled by taxes, visit your spouse in the hospital while they're dying, etc. It's getting better with more widespread recognition of de facto relationships, but marriage is still the gold standard. During the same-sex marriage campaign in the US, one campaigner came up with a list of approximately 1,100 legal advantages that marriage conferred over other types of partnership, simply because gay people had so often run up against the cold hard reality of being shut out of marriage.

My husband didn't realize until I told him so, afterwards, that he wouldn't have been allowed in my hospital room for certain parts of my labor and delivery (I can't remember what, just prelim stuff and not the actual birth) if we hadn't been married. It's a small thing, but even the small things like that add up. I can't imagine not being allowed to be there for a partner who's dying, simply because you don't have "that piece of paper".

The cynic in me says that the reason marriage is incentivized so heavily is because it sucks too badly to be worthwhile for its own sake.

Maybe bad marriages need to be incentivized, but good marriages? Good marriages are worth everything.
I can't feel too sorry for all the tales of divorce out there, considering the number of postsecrets that get sent in saying things like, "I knowingly married the wrong person just to spite the right one." I think many people know beforehand when they get into a bad marriage, as many of the divorced people I know have admitted at one time or another.
However, I also know plenty of marriages which went cockeyed for one reason or another and those people have my unending sympathy.


A close friend's mom was blindsided years ago by her husband's ten year affair with another woman, whom he left her for. Turns out he'd been paying to keep this other woman for years and the mom didn't know it because she never knew how much her husband made, just that money was tight. He was able to successfully claim work duties/being on call (he had that sort of job) for the times when he left to go see his mistress. I feel so bad, because their marriage fell apart at just about the time her small business was going under. At least she'd had work experience, though, and was able to find another job. Still, her ex's actions destroyed her credit (he used her name to pull out loans) and she's still, nearly a decade later, pulling herself out of the mess. Always, always know your partner's finances, and stay on top of family financial matters.

CU Tiger

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2016, 05:54:29 PM »

A close friend's mom was blindsided years ago by her husband's ten year affair with another woman, whom he left her for. Turns out he'd been paying to keep this other woman for years and the mom didn't know it because she never knew how much her husband made, just that money was tight. He was able to successfully claim work duties/being on call (he had that sort of job) for the times when he left to go see his mistress. I feel so bad, because their marriage fell apart at just about the time her small business was going under. At least she'd had work experience, though, and was able to find another job. Still, her ex's actions destroyed her credit (he used her name to pull out loans) and she's still, nearly a decade later, pulling herself out of the mess. Always, always know your partner's finances, and stay on top of family financial matters.

As a mid- teen I heard a talk about finance for women, and the speaker said something like, " many women are one man away from welfare, " and went on to explain why all women, married or not, need to understand their finances, know where the dollars are, and have personal credit and some cash that no one else can touch.

I have never forgotten that.

SisterX, is that a cocker spaniel? I have cockers and always notice them.

talltexan

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2016, 07:36:27 AM »
My wife expressed concern that her Roth IRA had only about 70% the value of mine (I started mine back when I was single 7 years before we were married). I think our marriage is pretty good, but I agree that there should be parity in certain assets in case we split.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2016, 11:40:15 AM »
SisterX, is that a cocker spaniel? I have cockers and always notice them.

Yep, the sweetest old lady cocker spaniel. :) They're awesome dogs.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2016, 12:23:27 PM »
A close friend's mom was blindsided years ago by her husband's ten year affair with another woman, whom he left her for. Turns out he'd been paying to keep this other woman for years and the mom didn't know it because she never knew how much her husband made, just that money was tight. He was able to successfully claim work duties/being on call (he had that sort of job) for the times when he left to go see his mistress. I feel so bad, because their marriage fell apart at just about the time her small business was going under. At least she'd had work experience, though, and was able to find another job. Still, her ex's actions destroyed her credit (he used her name to pull out loans) and she's still, nearly a decade later, pulling herself out of the mess. Always, always know your partner's finances, and stay on top of family financial matters.
Gawd, that's terrible.
Aside from keeping her own checking account, DW has given me nearly free rein over financials, and while I'd never pull that kind of shit on her, I see how someone in a similar situation could easily be left high and dry. If I hadn't perpetually encouraged (and even partly funded) regular investments, she'd have nothing in IRAs, a cash cushion of a few grand, and no plans beyond Social Security. Trust is vital to healthy relationships, but it's sad how badly people screw each other over sometimes by taking advantage of that trust. Trust but verify, I guess....

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2016, 12:53:01 PM »
A friend of mine was a paid caretaker to a sick woman who had no family around. For the last year of her life, the woman kept telling my friend and other people that my friend would get her house when she died. My friend never asked her if she had a will, she just counted on getting the house. Turns out there was a will, and whether the woman forgot, thought verbal promises overrode what was written, or was intentionally misleading, the will gave the house to an ex-coworker.

Most people, by the time they need caretakers, don't have the wherewithal (mental acuity, memory, stamina, ability to drive to appointments, some combination thereof) to actually get legal documents changed.  They may have great intentions, but actually following through is tough for them.  Most of the defrauding happens when someone actually gets documents made and brings them to the person to sign, and I know when my father had dementia and we talked to a lawyer about changing a few documents (the person my father had appointed as primary Power of Attorney didn't want to get involved, he never actually checked with them, sigh) the lawyer wouldn't cooperate unless he actually got to be there in the room with my father to see what his status was.  That was a pain, but at least it was ethical on his part. 

SisterX

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2016, 04:28:42 PM »
A close friend's mom was blindsided years ago by her husband's ten year affair with another woman, whom he left her for. Turns out he'd been paying to keep this other woman for years and the mom didn't know it because she never knew how much her husband made, just that money was tight. He was able to successfully claim work duties/being on call (he had that sort of job) for the times when he left to go see his mistress. I feel so bad, because their marriage fell apart at just about the time her small business was going under. At least she'd had work experience, though, and was able to find another job. Still, her ex's actions destroyed her credit (he used her name to pull out loans) and she's still, nearly a decade later, pulling herself out of the mess. Always, always know your partner's finances, and stay on top of family financial matters.
Gawd, that's terrible.
Aside from keeping her own checking account, DW has given me nearly free rein over financials, and while I'd never pull that kind of shit on her, I see how someone in a similar situation could easily be left high and dry. If I hadn't perpetually encouraged (and even partly funded) regular investments, she'd have nothing in IRAs, a cash cushion of a few grand, and no plans beyond Social Security. Trust is vital to healthy relationships, but it's sad how badly people screw each other over sometimes by taking advantage of that trust. Trust but verify, I guess....

I don't even think of it as "trust but verify", in my own life. I know my husband wouldn't try to screw me over the way my friend's dad did her mom and he knows that about me. It's more about all of the what-ifs of life. What if he dies and I suddenly need to take all financial control? I could, or he could if I were the one to kick the bucket early. There wouldn't be surprises, we'd know exactly where we stood financially and have a good idea of what to do next.
Don't keep secrets from your spouse. Having both people understand the financial aspect of a shared life is one part of that. Even if the finances are separate, it's still a good idea to give one's spouse a brief overview once in a while just in case, because shit happens. Even if you don't give out the amounts in your portfolio, at least make sure they know what's available to them (resources) or how to access accounts in the event of death by flaming monkeys, or whatever.

talltexan

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2016, 08:00:23 AM »
My co-worker was telling me about a situation in which the husband was in Afghanistan (serving in military), and his wife used his power-of-attorny to do a cash-out refinance of the mortgage, then served him divorce papers when he returned to the states.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2016, 12:17:38 PM »
I don't even think of it as "trust but verify", in my own life. I know my husband wouldn't try to screw me over the way my friend's dad did her mom and he knows that about me. It's more about all of the what-ifs of life. What if he dies and I suddenly need to take all financial control? I could, or he could if I were the one to kick the bucket early. There wouldn't be surprises, we'd know exactly where we stood financially and have a good idea of what to do next.
Don't keep secrets from your spouse. Having both people understand the financial aspect of a shared life is one part of that. Even if the finances are separate, it's still a good idea to give one's spouse a brief overview once in a while just in case, because shit happens. Even if you don't give out the amounts in your portfolio, at least make sure they know what's available to them (resources) or how to access accounts in the event of death by flaming monkeys, or whatever.
Mine finds this stuff so boring that I have to give it to her in batches. I also put a list of accounts and passwords in the fire safe for her... otherwise she'd barely know the name of our primary brokerage firm, let alone where everything else is stashed.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2016, 04:53:54 PM »
My wife doesn't care to know about our finances. I pay the bills, handle all investments, retirement and estate planning, budgeting, insurance issues, college funds, etc.

I let it bother me for a long time but finally I created what I call the "doomsday folder." It has copies of all of our important documents (originals are in a safe box), and a detailed summary of everything (passwords in the safe box). I had been thinking of putting together this folder two years ago when I was nearly killed in a car accident by a distracted driver. I put the folder together shortly thereafter.

My sister and father also have keys to the box in the event wife and I are killed simultaneously by a distracted driver or whatever.

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2016, 07:43:38 PM »
I didn't get married until I was 54 and nearly FIRE. I was used to accounting for everything by myself. DH was a widower and his wife was a bookkeeper, so she handled ALL their finances. When we got married, we combined accounts and now he pays all the bills. It freaks me out how much I love that he does this for us. He is very conscientious and virtually everything that can be is automated. I can log on and look at our accounts at any time. We have a place for our passwords because this was a huge problem when his first wife died rather suddenly. Frankly, he is better than I am about keeping it updated.

Worst case scenario? While we named each other as beneficiaries on our roughly equal retirement accounts, mine is mine and his is his. Neither of us have the desire or the ability to leave the other destitute. FWIW, we also live in a community property state.


joleran

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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2016, 03:23:08 PM »
My wife doesn't care to know about our finances. I pay the bills, handle all investments, retirement and estate planning, budgeting, insurance issues, college funds, etc.

I let it bother me for a long time but finally I created what I call the "doomsday folder." It has copies of all of our important documents (originals are in a safe box), and a detailed summary of everything (passwords in the safe box). I had been thinking of putting together this folder two years ago when I was nearly killed in a car accident by a distracted driver. I put the folder together shortly thereafter.

My sister and father also have keys to the box in the event wife and I are killed simultaneously by a distracted driver or whatever.

This is a great idea, I need to do this because my wife is the same way.  I try to have monthly talks where I go over our finances, I try to involve her in investment decisions, etc. but she really isn't interested in it at all.  I'm young enough that I don't worry a ton, but I can't help but think she's going to have a rough time of it and be very vulnerable to financial predators if I were to die.  She does do all the cleaning and laundry, though I'm pretty sure I don't need to worry about hiring that out in the same way she needs to worry about hiring a financial advisor.


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Re: Shame and tragedy
« Reply #36 on: November 01, 2016, 11:17:18 AM »
My co-worker was telling me about a situation in which the husband was in Afghanistan (serving in military), and his wife used his power-of-attorny to do a cash-out refinance of the mortgage, then served him divorce papers when he returned to the states.

Sounds to me like she might be working for the enemy! ;) Send her to some far off place and let her earn her way herding sheep or making baskets!