Friday, December 19, 2008

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

That's Ronald Reagan's funeral. My dad's was slightly less ostentatious, and took place in a small room at the back of Jerry Spears' Funeral Home on the west side of Columbus.

My dad has now been dead for two and a half months, but the phone calls from miffed creditors and the bills in the mail just keep on coming. They are particularly appreciated at this festive time of year.

For those of you following this engrossing saga, my dad left no money, a mound of bills, and a nice little surprise for us: if we wanted him buried, we were going to have to pay for it. So my sister and I did that. Nevertheless, the prospect of dealing with his financial "estate" (a euphemistic word if there ever was one) is not something I desired. Or agreed to. Or will even remotely do. But it's tough to ignore when the miffed creditors keep on calling. Isn't this what probate court is for? One would think so. But probate court is a vague, nebulous entity, and there's nobody to talk to, and there's nobody for the creditors to bug. So they bug us.

There's a locked box containing whatever legal papers and financial records that my father bothered to keep. It currently resides at a lawyer's office on the west side of Columbus, complete with a letter from me, notarized by another lawyer, stating, "I don't want this. It's all yours. Have fun." The lawyer who has the locked box wants $200 from us to open the box. Are we going to pay $200 for the lawyer to open the box? No, indeed we are not. It shouldn't take a math genius or a legal wizard to figure out that zero assets minus thousands of dollars of unpaid bills = nothin'. Nada. The ol' blood from a turnip routine.

Nevertheless, the creditors keep calling, and the lawyer's waiting for his $200 (he will be waiting for a long, long time), and every day brings new and delightful discoveries in the life of Robert D. Whitman, deceased. Perhaps, some day, these discoveries will cease. But in the meantime we field the irate phone calls and open the unpaid bills and throw them away, and wait for the mysterious, all-powerful probate court to kick it into gear.

1 comment:

Beth said...


I know that I'm going back a bit in your postings. But I'm so sorry you're going through this. SO sorry. We have been thinking of and praying for you this season, which must be a tough one, with all the losses both you and Kate have suffered.

Please, let's do get together sometime and commiserate on life and then, forget about sadness and simply laugh like we always manage to do.

Love to you and Kate,
Beth (and Tim!)