Today I received a telephone call from a lady who lives in a different state, asking me if I was available to do some work for her. At first, I only vaguely remembered who she was, but as we talked for a few minutes I began to remember very clearly who she was.
The last time that I had spoken to her was about two years ago. At that time I had explained to her that I was working in North Dakota. She remembered me telling her that, but she hadn’t known whether I had returned yet.
I asked her what was going on with her, and she told me that her husband had died about a year ago, and things have just been insane, that I wouldn’t believe it. I thought to myself, no, I probably would believe it, I probably could have even predicted it, because I have seen it before.
Besides the contracting work that I have sometimes done for elderly people, which allowed the opportunity for elderly people to tell me about themselves and their lives, I have in the past also been a caregiver for terminally ill patients. When people who are elderly begin to have failing health, even elderly people who own just a home and a vehicle, there are some strange plots and schemes which begin to unfold.
In this blog post I can’t cover everything that happens when an elderly spouse dies, but telling what happened to this woman, describes many of the things that do happen.
This woman, who I will call “Jean”, this was her first marriage, and it was her husband’s second marriage. Her husband, who I will call “Tom”, he had an adult daughter who was the same age as his wife, Jean. Though Jean had been married to her husband Tom for thirty years, because she was so much younger than her husband, and because of his previous marriage, there were other people that felt they had a right of precedence over his wife Jean in inheriting, receiving, or even keeping her husband’s property.
Prior to Tom’s health failing, representatives of the Church that Tom had once belonged to, would come visit him at his house, trying to ask Tom to reconcile with the Church. Tom would explain to the representatives of the Church, the events that had made him decide to be done with the Church once and for all, back when he was a teenager.
As Tom and his wife Jean became older, they found that they had to be more forceful with the Church representatives that would come visit them at their home, telling them to please leave us alone, we have no desire to be involved with an organized Church and an organized religion, please do not come back.
As Tom’s health became very bad, and his wife Jean was struggling with Tom and her own health problems, the Church stepped up its efforts to try to reclaim Tom. What Tom and Jean suspected, was that among other things, what the Church wanted was Tom’s large farm and ranch property outside of town. Even though both Tom and Jean had told the Church representatives to leave them alone and not come back, they kept having Church representatives “accidentally” showing up at the wrong address and asking for directions, fairly frequently.
Jean suspected that the Church was hoping and trying to catch her husband Tom by himself, when she was away dong errands, so that they could try some type of tactics or ploy to get Tom to agree to transfer the farm and ranch property to the Church. Jean came home one day to find several very attractive, and attractively dressed Church women knocking on her door trying to get her husband Tom to let them in, even though by this time, the Church had been told again, and again, and again to not come back.
This Church felt that they had more of a right to inherit and receive Tom’s property than his wife did, after all, this was his second wife, and she was not even a member of this Church. I believe that Jean told me that shortly before her husband Tom’s death, they went ahead and gave to the Church, a copy of a legal document showing that long ago Tom had placed the farm and ranch property in a Trust for Tom’s daughter, so that the Church would leave them alone, and quit trying to obtain the farm and ranch from them.
Jean told me that when her husband Tom’s health began to fail, that began the long drawn out legal battle with Tom’s daughter. Tom’s daughter then also began trying to use and make opportunities to take property away from Tom and Jean’s home. Jean and Tom had been married for thirty years. Because Tom was ill, Jean did not object to Tom’s daughter visiting him at their home. However, during these visits which were supposed to be about caring for Tom, Tom’s daughter would surreptitiously sneak around the home, searching for valuables to take with her at that time, at a later date, or by someone else.
While Tom was sick, Tom’s daughter would remove family heirloom jewelry from the home, personal items, memorabilia, art objects, and other property without permission. When Tom and Jean would go to medical appointments, often times when they returned home they would find that some of Tom’s tools had been taken from the garage. Tom’s daughter and her accomplices were removing property from Tom and Jean’s home, because they felt that Jean did not have a right to this property. Tom’s daughter even spoke about selling Tom’s home and everything in it, once Tom died, as if his wife Jean didn’t even exist.
Between the day that Tom died and the day of his funeral, when Jean left her home to go make funeral arrangements and cemetery arrangements, when she returned home she found that someone had gone through everything in her garage. In the back yard, someone had pulled down the railroad ties that framed in their garden, so that they could dig through her garden, looking for who knows what.
Following her husband Tom’s funeral, every day there were phone calls or people knocking on Jean’s front door, saying that they were friends, relatives, acquaintances of Tom, or strangers, asking her what she was going to do with Tom’s guns. She said to one of the strangers, why are all these people calling me and showing up at my front door asking about my husband’s guns, who is telling you to come here? The stranger replied, that he was told by the people at the local Ranch Store.
Everything that I wrote up above, I have seen before. Daughters of fathers who re-married, thinking that the new wife, is not entitled to anything, though their father and the new wife might have been married for twenty years or more. Legally, the wife of a deceased husband, is entitled to what the husband leaves behind, not just as a matter of inheritance, but because things like a home, furniture, automobiles, and recreational vehicles were jointly owned and jointly used.
I have seen where family members of a terminally ill person show up, under the guise of caring, but who are really there because of their interest in seeing what assets that they might get a hold of. I have seen two medical doctors get all excited about a twenty year old Toyota Corolla that was worth about $3,000, when neither of these two medical doctors had the right of inheritance to this car, it was the joint marital property of the widowed wife. You would think that a doctor could buy their own car.
I have seen where widowed women have their house, garage, or shop broken into while they attend their husband’s funeral. It most often appears that when spotting scopes, range finders, and hunting bows are taken, it was one of their husband’s friends or one of their neighbors that took these things. I would recommend, that when a family goes to a funeral now, that they post someone as a guard at the home of the deceased person during the funeral.
I have seen where hunters, gun collectors, and other sleazy assholes, read obituaries in the newspaper and then telephone and show up at widowed women’s houses, hoping to get firearms away from some woman who has no idea that these firearms might be worth thousands of dollars, who is grieving and not thinking clearly about things, such as needing to get the full cash value for things like gun collections, or vintage vehicles.