One of the great debates we encounter in estate closing revolves around death certificates.  Some law firms say not to scrimp on buying them; the more you have the better; always send them registered mail return receipt; every company will need an original.  In our experience, that's not necessarily the case. 

Yes, there are specific companies that need originals but with the evolution of the internet, a lot more companies are taking scanned copies with additional proof of death (i.e. a letter from the funeral home or a copy of the obituary).

The Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration need originals as does the court system.  However, if you put a sticky note that says "please return original" along with a self addressed stamped envelope, they send it back.  From a cost perspective you can spend $20 each and buy 15 for a total of $300 or you can buy 6 for a total of $120 and then buy blank envelopes and stamps at $.45 each.   

There are many tricks like this that we can help with.  Although it doesn't reduce the emotional stress or grief associated with closing the estate, small things that can save money are a welcome change for the families we serve. 

As always, thank you for your continued support of After the Fact - Final Affairs.  It's a privilege to serve the families you refer us.

 Today I read a blog titled “Concessions of an Over-Giver.”  My first thought was, how can you over-give?  After reading the blog I understood what she meant.  There is a big difference in over-giving and generosity.

That prompted me to think about my giving.  Just because I have it and I can, does that mean I should?

Granted, my mindset is if you can help (or give), then do.  But how I would define it and how the person receiving it would define it may be different.

Take my career for example.  Every time I hear of someone passing away, my first thought is always how can I help them or what can I give them to make this easier.  To me it makes perfect sense to reach out and want to make it all go away.

However, sometimes there is no grief, no closure or no acceptance unless the pain is gone through by the person.  That doesn’t mean they don’t want help or they won’t accept help, it’s just a matter of what kind of help is best for their situation.  And when you ask them how you can help, the usual reply is “I don’t need anything right now, thanks.”  But we all know they do need help they just don’t know how to express it in a way that won’t sound selfish.

So I’ve learned to say “Here is something I can help you with, is that alright?”  That doesn’t require any thought on their part, any guilt for accepting help and it still gives them the opportunity to be part of the process.  Once you have given to them, it’s much easier for them to ask for what they need later on.

Now, my mindset is this.  Here is how I can help (or give) to you that I hope is beneficial that won’t be too pushy or aggressive but that ads value to you and your situation.

Tisha Diffie

After the Fact – Final Affairs