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Discussion in 'Friends & Neighbours' started by Caughtinbetween, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @Caughtinbetween,

    Thanks to @Rihana nominating @Hopikrishnan's response to you, I came to know about this thread. First thing first. My condolences to your friend for losing her husband to COVID. It is unfortunate that your friend feels stranded losing her husband in the US with no idea about how to move forward educating her children in the US and carry on life without him. I am glad the funeral was conducted without any hiccup.

    As indicated by @Hopikrishnan, the probate process is time-consuming depending on the state without which transfer of bank account and other assets to the name of the spouse from the husband's name will take time. She needs to see a lawyer to find out the quickest way to restore normalcy to manage the finances of her husband. At least, they are American citizens and hence there are no visa-related risks.

    1) Social Security death benefit - The first thing to do is to make a claim with social security benefit. She needs to go to Social Security Administration office and understand the formalities of filing a death benefit related documents. Once the documents are filed properly along with the death certificate, this monthly benefit would start immediately. I am sure her husband included her as a nominee to his social security benefits. She needs to open a bank account in her name and request SSA to credit the monthly payment to that account.

    2) Credit card applications - As she was a joint-holder of credit cards with her husband, she would have a good credit history established already. Hence, she needs to apply for credit cards personally in her name, if she were to lose the credit card issued to her husband as a primary cardholder.

    3) Life-insurance claim - She needs to find out the life insurance policies her husband held in his name whether they are term or whole life policies. She needs to talk to this insurance company to initiate the process of claim. Generally, he would have definitely included her wife as a nominee in those policies as the children are minor, hence this claim can be credited to her personal bank account right away.

    4) Employment benefits - If her husband is owed any money from the employer towards leave salary and other benefits, your friends should make this claim with the employer.

    5) 401(k) - As this benefit is payable to the employee upon retirement or after her husband reached 59.5 years, this payment is difficult without a probate. However, the amount available in this account needs to be found out so that the transfer of funds into her personal name can be done after the probate is obtained.

    6) Group life insurance policy - Your friend's husband's employer may have a group life insurance for all the employees in the organization. Generally, this policy is with the employer and it will be paid also to the employer. Mostly, the premium for this policy will be paid directly by the employer. Your friend needs to inquire about the beneficiary of this policy. Sometimes, it is offered as a benefit to the employee whereas some employer uses this group life insurance as business disruption cost reimbursement.

    7) If they have a house of their own and mortgage payments are due every month, she needs to verify whether there is mortgage insurance taken by her husband. If that is the case, then she needs to make a claim with that insurance company so that no mortgage payments will be due going forward. If there is no mortgage insurance, then, monthly payment of the mortgage has to be organized and the procedure to change the house into her name needs to be initiated.

    One of my colleagues died 22 years ago and I helped his wife to make all the claims. Luckily, she started working for a bank resulting in educating both her sons in the US. They had their own house with a monthly mortgage.

    When I moved to the US in 1995, my wife was 33 years old and my son was 7 years old and hence I was worried about them getting stranded in a new country if something were to happen to me. Therefore, all my bank accounts, investment accounts, immovable property, etc. were in both our names. Besides, I created a will nominating three different people to guide my family, one for managing the estate as a Trustee, another for managing the financial assets, and the third to guide my son to develop his curriculum. The lawyer I consulted suggested that I should think about having a person I trust as the Trustee while someone I feel comfortable managing the finances to be appointed as the manager of the portfolio of assets.
     
    Laks09, SCA, sokanasanah and 4 others like this.
  2. Caughtinbetween

    Caughtinbetween Finest Post Winner

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    thank you everyone for the suggestions .
    apologies for taking long to give a detailed reply ... i thought i would be able to sit and write over the weekend but couldn't ...i will try my best to answer all the queries posted in the above responses later today. thank you again.
     
  3. Caughtinbetween

    Caughtinbetween Finest Post Winner

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    Thank you everyone for the replies.
    i am so sorry that i could come only now to respond , feeling so bad about myself for not being able to respond earlier due to so many small small reasons catching up.

    update:
    actually when i started this thread , friend's extended family did not come out to help them as much as they did now. i mean with respect to the other issues after the funeral formalities were done. they spoke to my friend in such a manner that going forward she only has to manage everything on her own and she cant depend on them. so she used to call me repeatedly about all the things to be done w.r.t to the accounts , will etc.

    however eventually friend's husband's siblings have come around and promised her that they would look after the family and help them with everything. there is a little catch here. they asked her to sign a general POA giving all the rights to her late H's siblings to access the accounts , life insurance, bank accounts everything basically. they assured her that there will never be any ill intentions from their side and its only for the ease of doing things. she has signed the POA . its not like the siblings will even think about cheating them with the money , they will never do that but its more about keeping control over their finances. there were obviously other ways to get access of the accounts without taking POA from her but they decided otherwise. they assured her that she does not have to go for a job and just looking after the kids is enough on her part and they will take care of all the expenses . they will claim all the benefits , social security benefit and all and right now looks like all that money would be deposited in one of the siblings account and he would use it to spend on family's expenses and top it off with his personal funds where ever needed. so the family would be dependent on the siblings until at least older kids finish studies. my friend putting up any resistance in front of the siblings will not help , instead will isolate her further . her late H used to trust his siblings more than he trusted his wife wrt to money matters , they know more about the state of his finances than her.
    so now the siblings would be essentially controlling the family's business at least for next few years . i vaguely mentioned about her joining some job in some time to regain some independence however it seems that she is not thinking about it as of now . she wants to fully focus on her kids for next 2 years to help them cope up with the loss. i didn't speak about it much after knowing her intentions as she gets stressed out a lot because of this and gets sick. for now siblings are looking after everything and i hope they do so for at least next 5-6 years to help them come out of the woods.

    i would really like to thank all of you for so many of the helpful replies given here. specially to @Hopikrishnan . your replies here are very helpful . personally this incidence and the replies you and others posted have given me a context and talking points to improve my own matters . it gave me a foundation to talk to my H about the importance of a will for my child. he was shocked to know about the long probate process that friend's family have to go through in the absence of the will. i am still a long way to go in my own life in terms of finances. observing this tragedy from such close quarters also will not change anything much in terms of my H's thought process but i hope for little changes. my H would often say that whatever wealth he creates is for our kid only so i need not worry about she not getting anything or struggling for anything but now i can guide his thought process slowly to evaluate how difficult it is for the kid to inherit everything because majority of it is in india.
     
    Mistt, Hopikrishnan and Laks09 like this.
  4. Caughtinbetween

    Caughtinbetween Finest Post Winner

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    thank you uncle for the detailed response. i remember reading about the above instance in one of your past threads. cant remember the exact one . however that instance was exactly on my mind when i came here to create this thread to get your and others inputs into the matter. thank you so much.
     
  5. Caughtinbetween

    Caughtinbetween Finest Post Winner

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    @Hopikrishnan , @Viswamitra uncle (i remember reading from your various threads that you sponsored gc and subsequently citizenship for your MIL hence tagging you here for some advice)

    Situation is :
    My friend currently took cobra insurance temporarily which is costing them 1600$/month. NJ low income health insurance is an option they are going to explore shortly . Obamacare enrollment if and when begins could also be expensive.
    Friend needs to take up some job to be able to get a reasonable insurance for her family. She does not want to put kids under nanny or any other home child care system specially for the youngest one in elementary. she wants her mother to come from india and stay with them so that she can peacefully work outside. she is 60+ and taking blood pressure medications but healthy otherwise except BP.
    From what I know if she sponsors her mother to come here that process should be faster. Siblings take decades .
    Can someone please tell me what the process to sponsor her mother is ? My understanding is that she will be issued a GC in india before travelling. Would she need to shuttle back and forth every six months or can she continue staying here on a long term basis. And what are the options regarding her health insurance? And how long is it taking now a days for this entire process ?

    thank you very much for your help.
     
  6. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Gold IL'ite

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    @Caughtinbetween , Feel sad for the plight of your friend. Cobra is a horrible thing -- it has been known as a gift to the Insurance industry to suck the blood of people who lose their employer provided insurance coverage due to sudden unemployment .... or worse. As you had already surmised, Obamacare isn't a whole lot better.

    Employment, and hoping to acquire health-insurance for self+children through the employer is a good plan. However, until the Covid-19 lockdowns go away, and the economy gets back to normal, this would be a tough one.

    As for sponsoring a parent, my first thought was about the Affidavit of Support. A sponsor has to provide proof of Income to support a potential immigrant to at least 125% of the official poverty level. When that is feasible, then the process would take about a year. And a whole mess of paperwork. Read about it in the link.
    Your friend would certainly need English help to deal with that process. An immigration lawyer would be suitable, but she'd have to work on that with her current helpers within the family.

    It is normal to advise the bereaved to collect themselves and establish a new equilibrium of life [income to expense stability month over month] before attempting a big disruption.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  7. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Gold IL'ite

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    The story of this thread always jogs up such a lot of advice in Money Matters websites about how to make the family wealth be readily available to the bereaved survivors when death-of-a-breadwinner hits the family.
    What Assets Need to Be Listed for Probate?
     

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