Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Topic: Debt & Death?

How many family caregivers are facing debt after a loved one dies? This can be an overwhelming burden stacked on top of grieving the loss. It’s a widespread attitude.

Have you ever asked yourself what proactive steps have been taken once becoming a caregiver responsible for the financial elements? If you did not know, despite the good intentions of care recipients, bills are not buried. Many are left behind to resolve. The question becomes…do they become your responsibility or do unpaid bills remain unpaid. One way to avoid the worry is to start a plan! Have a plan, a proactive plan.

Before one needs care, getting business in order seems to be an afterthought. It is like the mindset of “I’m gonna live forever” while continuing to buy, collect, and remain thoughtless of life, which has a beginning and end. We hope to lighten the load of those left behind and prepare for death in this meaningful way. If you need to add a financial planner or financial adviser to your list of important phone numbers, do so. Their advice will be invaluable.

As I have shared often over, proactive planning includes being organized and letting family caregivers know about who you owe. Having names and account numbers should be known by caregivers. Most debt can be dissolved by a phone call, death certificate, and some agreeable amount asked by someone who is owed. Take note, if you have co-signed with someone who has died, that responsibility becomes yours.

Other debts can be covered by a loved one’s estate. This can include medical bills and some huge debt. Check also to see if there is mortgage insurance that pays off the mortgage if someone dies. Keep in mind insurance policies are still the best way to fund end-of-life services. Insurance can also help pay off the debt of a loved one if it is required by some companies. The beneficiary is tasked with closing down a loved one’s life. As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, it’s all about preparing and planning. Take care! Be Well!

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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.