Home > Holiday plans, probate roundup, patio pix

Holiday plans, probate roundup, patio pix

May 26th, 2016 at 12:02 pm

I'm working from home today and I have tomorrow off, so my 4-day weekend has almost started! It will be an easy day, although yesterday in the office was pretty busy.

I have a week off coming up in mid-June, and I'm planning on having a garage sale to try to sell a lot of odds and ends of my mother's. I think I'd like to try to spend some time this weekend starting to bring things to the garage and pricing them. At least this time I have plenty of shelving and tables (also my mother's) which I can spread out on the driveway and use for the sale.

My friend R. has been asking me to come visit him in a town about 40 minutes from here. I was thinking since I have extra time off, this weekend would be a good time, but he works 6 days a week (not full-time, just 3 or 4 hours a day). So he wants me to come at probably the worst possible time during the entire long weekend, 5:30 pm tomorrow night! I'd have to leave at about 5 pm during rush hour when the crazies are out.

I have always butted heads with him, but we've been friends for 30 years now. He has insisted there is no west to east traffic on a certain road i would need to take to get to his place, even though i know that to be untrue since i drive it to commute in to work 3 times a week. He wrote in an email that I was "overreacting again to a nonexistent traffic problem." Which pissed me off, so now I don't want to go. It somehow often devolves into a contest of wills and he is always quick to externalize the source of the problem: me, overreacting. He is definitely pushing my buttons; he may as well be doing what Trump did, referencing me having my period or something.

This week I started physical therapy again for my numb toes on right foot. The numb toes developed after pulling my hamstring last spring, but I only went to physical therapy for 2 visits before my mother's health declined and I had to stop.

So I'm committed to going this time for a full month, twice a week, to give it a fair shot at possibly helping with the numb toes. I am not especially optimistic since it's been over a year now, but I feel it's worth the time and expense to give it a fair shot.

I have daily homework exercises to do too, twice a day, which I plan to be diligent about. It's 6 different exercises that stretch the tendons in the back of the leg and for symmetry purposes, I'm doing them with both legs.

This past Tuesday night I went to see The Race at our local one-screen movie theater. It's about the life of the athlete Jesse Owens. It was pretty good.

I'm entering 3 smaller pieces of my mother's in another art exhibit, this time at a frame shop in her hometown; she was very fond of the people there so I feel good about showing there. It's not going to sell if it just sits at my place. The fee is $20 for 3 pieces not to exceed 24" in length and the theme is "Summer." I've already picked out the pieces: one is a woven tapestry of tulips, another is a paper abstract of flowers and the third is a "woven painting" of sailboats on the sea. The drop-off isn't til early June; it would be great if something sold.

So far in the veggie garden I have a few rows of onions very recently planted, along with 2 good-sized eggplant seedlings I put in this past Monday. I also have basil, peppermint and 2 cherry tomato seedlings in large pots in my driveway.

I am wanting to get cucumber seedlings next, along with some elephant ears which I thought would look great with its large foliage against the corner by the stone wall and paver driveway. I've set up a small table out there with 3 chairs and it looks quite inviting.

Here it is in the early morning light. You may not think it looks like much, but this is so much nicer than the ugly gray asphalt that was there before!

The dark area behind the chair in the middle is the stone staircase leading to the backyard. This whole area does get early morning sun but for most of the day, as the sun turns in the sky, it is quite shady, cool and inviting. That's why I have a pot of impatiens hanging in the rhododendron. Which by the way is going to look really spectacular when it's in bloom in another week or so.

The table has a round 36" diameter top and the 2 concrete legs were actually the base of a concrete bench I used to have but the bench was chipped and damaged when a tree fell on it during a storm, so I got rid of it but kept the base, which really works great with the glass top.

On top of the table you can see 8 or 9 very round stones. I picked these off a beach somewhere (for the life of me I can't remember if it was a beach in Costa Rica on the Nicaraguan border or somewhere near Montreal, which is not on the coast(!) so really can't recall exactly where) but I will always remember that because when we returned to the US, the customs officer inspecting our trunk saw them and really yelled at me. However, he did not take them away from me. I did feel bad (I guess it is like people picking up seashells, which someday will be gone if everyone keeps doing it), but I have always loved using them in my garden displays.

I'm also seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as far as probate goes. I'm saying that because I'm nearing the end of the 5-month period of time you have to give any creditors to step forward and present any outstanding bills. I'm pretty sure we're done with all bills except for one last one from her accountant; i'm still waiting for him to complete the estate tax return for state of CT, which is due June 28. In July, I'll be able to file the next form with probate, which lists outstanding claims/bills paid, not including funeral expenses and accountant, which for some reason are to be listed on another form that comes a little later.

I spent some time last week comparing the total balance of assets upon death, subtracted bills paid and final expenses, and while it was off by about $1,000, a trip to the bank and a helpful banker there helped figure things out so everything balances out. I am hopeful to be able to disburse remaining assets of about $88K to my sister and myself as beneficiaries. (We started out with about $108K in her checking. This was the money left over from sale of her house, but I had a few big bills to pay to the nursing home (about $12,000) and state of CT for reimbursement of Medicare withholding (about $7,000).

She had quite a bit more money in May, when I first moved her to assisted living, but assisted living, and then the nursing home, quickly ate into her assets during just a 6-month time period before she died. It makes me sad, just becus of how the system works to suck up what would otherwise have been our inheritance. I knew this all along and I don't begrudge the nursing home/assisted living payments for services rendered, but the sheer size of the bills is scary frightening and seems disproportionate, I guess, when you consider how quickly $6,000 a month bills will erode a nest egg.

If I had my way I would have moved mom to assisted living earlier because she was having lots of problems and it was all very scary trying to deal with it, but she didn't want to move and so for probably a year I was there on my weekends and on the phone with her a lot trying to manage things that were increasingly confusing to her, like bills, new locks on the door she couldn't figure out, how to use her thermostat, an air purifier and the like. There were so many little crises concerning things that previously had not been confusing. But mom resisted not just moving elsewhere, but even having an aide come to the condo a few times a week to help her. She was used to her independence and I can't say I blame her, but at the same time, I knew she badly needed help.

In hindsight, if I had moved her earlier, it's very likely I'd be looking at a much smaller estate now, if one existed at all.

The big picture: mom's total assets before moving into assisted living were about $110K in savings and the condo sale netted out at $129K, for a total of $239,000. My sister and I will have received a total of roughly $89,000 each by this fall, which represents about 75% of gross assets before we incurred all the bills.

So once again I find that mom unknowingly preserved more than half her estate for her daughters, something I know was always firmly in the back of her mind. Thank you, mom.

Once I complete that particular responsibility by around September, I hope, I can breath a sigh of relief it is done. I can then continue to focus on showing and selling art for some time to come, certainly through 2016.

6 Responses to “Holiday plans, probate roundup, patio pix”

  1. Jenn Says:

    Your new driveway is absolutely beautiful, and now that the weather is nice, you'll get to use it. What a good decision that was! Enjoy.

  2. Carol Says:

    Your sitting area looks very inviting. Good news on probate moving along. Enjoy your weekend!

  3. CB in the City Says:

    I love your sitting area! Wish I had one!

  4. househopeful Says:

    With the expenses of care for her (on your part) and for your dealing with probate, etc, can you be reimbursed for any expenses that you yourself may have incurred. I know that in some cases you can. It would not be selfish to reclaim money you're out in caregiving.

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    I did reimburse myself about $2500 as power of attorney for certain expenses I paid out of pocket. I could also have reimbursed myself for managing the whole probate process, but I have chosen not to do that, partly because that money would be taxed.

  6. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Wow it's gone by so fast.

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