Disclaimer: For every subject dealt with here, please understand that I am saying what we did or understand we should have done or should do but my comments do not replace the information or advice of professionals.
Today is a pragmatic entry. Today is about the grunt work before a hospital stay. Actually you do not need to wait for a medical situation to deal with this type of paperwork.
When facing great medical situations we do not always realise what we may need until we see we are missing it. In some cases that may be too late.
If you are in a couple, both need to know what expenses the household has. You need to know the payment format for each bill and the time frame. It is possible to do it as a couple but for many reasons one person in a couple is often the “financial minister”. If the person in charge cannot do the banking all of a sudden, it becomes very difficult for the other spouse to figure it all out, especially when he or she is overwhelmed with worry.
In our home, my husband came up with a notebook in which every bill paid by him or me gets listed with different columns: who does the transaction, date, which bill, amount, account used to pay, transaction number, and other information that may be helpful. Either one of us could easily look to see if the bill was paid and when. It gives a clear and quick idea what is generally going on.
For the bank accounts, we have decided to have a joint account to pay for the mortgage and the like. We also have our separate accounts. This is important to protect each other. You see, my husband or I might die one day. Actually I can guarantee that we will die one day. When that day comes, the accounts with the person’s name will be frozen until things are cleared up. It is important that each person has access to their own account while they wait for everything to settle.
On the other hand, it is important if the spouse with a medical situation is out of commission for a while that the mobile spouse has recognised permission to access all accounts and all bills. In our province, we simply showed up at our bank branch and gave each other power of attorney to bank for each other.
We were asked by the surprised bank employee why we would do that after so many years. After asking my husband’s permission to share, I told her that my spouse was having surgery the next day. The expected outcome was him being out of commission (mute and paralysed) for who knows how long. I also told her that I could get hit by a car on my way out of the building.
The insurance that we had to deal with was unemployment insurance. Every time my mate had brain surgery, he missed work. Who would have thought! Sometimes he would miss for quite a few weeks. We live in a place where you are allowed unemployment insurance for a few months if you are hurt or sick. To get it you must fill in and sign documents every two weeks.
We had to go to the office to find out how I could sign those documents in his name since the expected paralysis would make it difficult for him to sign.
I would check with any other bill or paperwork which would cause worry. Arrangements must be directly made with the company in question.
I know these suggestions may look good and I would love to tell you we have done all of these things from the get go. I could, but it would be a lie. At least by brain surgery number six, we had finally understood.
Better late than never…
Please join us next time with “Keep the children on your radar” in a few days
I would love to hear from you if you wish to leave a comment or start a conversation.
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