As my life changes now from caregiver to Executor, trust me. the frustrations and the sense of humor still need to be in place.
I spent two hours yesterday calling all the places that send money to my brother-in-law to thank them, but notify them that he has passed away.
I called two pension plans, one health insurance company, one drug insurance company, and one health insurance reimbursement company. Five phone calls shouldn’t take that long. However, there is no “press 9” if your loved one has passed away. By the time I was transferred to each appropriate department and repeated my story over and over again, I started to feel the ghost of caregiver frustration rearing her ugly head.
Truthfully, most customer service people were quite kind and sympathetic.
But there’s always one, isn’t there?
The health insurance reimbursement company was set up by my brother-in-law’s former employer to reimburse each individual for their health insurance premium as a temporary benefit when the employer no longer wanted to be in the health insurance business. This started last year when I had to wade through 64 health plans to pick the best one and then send in a cancelled check to have reimbursement sent directly to my brother-in-law’s checking account. I am certain that I had to fax my Power of Attorney documents to this company so that I could conduct this business while my brother-in-law was in the hospital.
The second person I am transferred to deems herself helpful in this way:
“I can’t find your Power of Attorney document in my system.”
“That’s okay,” I replied, “because I’m just calling to let you know that my brother-in-law passed away.”
“Well,” she said tartly, “I think you have to call back and speak to customer service about that.”
“Okay,” I said slowly and a bit confused, “but will they take care of this then?”
“Well, I don’t know!” she sputtered, “but your Power of Attorney isn’t any good for dead people.”
Oh my God, did she really say that? Actually, I say that all the time in my lectures where I’m teaching about what you need to do get your affairs in order, but still….really?
“I know,” I told her, “because I’m also the executor.”
“Huh,” she mumbled, “Well, I don’t see any executor papers here in the file.”
“I know that too, he just passed away a week ago,” I said slowly and patiently, or so I thought. ” I just wanted to inform you so that you stop putting money in his checking account.”
“Well, we can’t just do that. Did you call his former employer?”
“Why, yes I did, with no difficulty.”
“Well then,” she said with exasperation, ” they will take care of it.”
“So I DON’T have to call customer service?” I inquired.
“The employer will take care of it,” she said.
“Look, I just want you to note that so you don’t keep putting money into his account. Is that possible?”
I didn’t tell her I was closing those accounts. I’m just smiling knowing those checks would be swimming around in the direct deposit atmosphere for who knows how long.
And I did not call customer service.
’cause well………….in these times,
“You Just have to Laugh…………”
©2015 Cathy Sikorski