the huntered housewife

our family life, our way

As Executor, what happens after the funeral?

I filled you in with my last post that Dad passed away in September.

I shared my hiccups that occurred when organising his funeral. I think Dad would be pleased at how it all came together and humbled that over 200 people attended.

So what happens now? I haven’t done this before so I am learning as I go.

The Funeral Director will order the Death Certificate. This takes about 3 weeks to arrive and it comes by registered mail so you have to sign for receiving it. It’s not something they want to go astray. It is a legal document.

Get the mail redirected. Once you have a death certificate you can have the mail redirected for a year for free. You need to do this in person at the post office, it can’t be done online like a regular redirection. In the meantime I have paid for a month to allow time for the certificate to arrive, which was made simple for me as I had Power of Attorney over Dad’s affairs. They asked if he had a concession card but I didn’t have it with me at the time so when I go back this week I will ask if he is entitled to a refund or discount for the month that’s been paid for.

Cancel things. Health fund, telephone, electricity, newspaper delivery, etc. These can be done over the phone (no death certificate needed) and any refunds will be sent by cheque to “the estate of………” so the right person gets the money. More on this further on. As mail arrives, ring and get your loved one removed from mailing lists. If there are bills due, you can pay them and then claim it back from the estate, otherwise get extensions on the due dates and get them paid from the estate. Dad had already passed his car on, so the registration and insurance were already in the process of issuing refund cheques. I do need to return the disabled parking space permit to the RMS.

Unsubscribe from email lists. I have Dad’s computer passwords so am able to get into his computer and emails. Marketing emails have an unsubscribe link which makes it easy. Go back through emails in case there is something you haven’t thought of. A lot of bills arrive electronically these days, so you won’t always find a paper trail.

Find out how long you have to vacate the premises. It took a few intense phone calls to management and a plea for them to see reason and have compassion but I was able to negotiate a little bit of extra time to clear out the villa. As we all live away, we couldn’t go back and forth, it had to be a one trip job for each of us. And as a team we did it.

Make sure the funeral bill gets paid. Dad’s was prepaid, so I only needed to pay the organist. Banks will release funds from the bank account in the form of a cheque to the funeral home when the executor takes the bill to them. The bank will then freeze the account so no other funds can be drawn unless they authorise it. This now becomes a legal / estate issue so the bank is restricted on who any funds can be released to.

Get in touch with your loved one’s legal people – solicitor, accountant/tax agent. Give them a certified copy of the will if they don’t already have one. And give them a certified copy of the death certificate. The word certified is very important. It means the photocopy you are waving under their nose is a true and correct copy of the original and has been stamped and signed by someone who is legally allowed to say so. Those people would be a Solicitor or a Justice of the Peace and there will be others but off the top of my head I can’t tell you who. You can google that one if you like.

Decide if you want to handle the estate or if you want the legal people to do it. I have chosen (with Dad’s okay) to have his solicitor do it because know the process and the laws. I know it will be done right if they do it. Now that the death certificate has arrived, I can get some copies certified and send one each to the solicitor and the accountant and they can do their thing. When someone asks if the will is going to Probate and you replay that you don’t even know what Probate is, you know you are doing the right thing by handing it over to the professionals! It’s a term I heard when I was in banking but I never had to deal with it so I never bothered to learn what it was about. That was handled by a whole other department interstate. If you are going to DIY, you will need to set up a bank account in the “estate of the late……..” and that is where refunds and other monies will go. If there are shares or investments to cash in, the proceeds will go into this account. Superannuation needs to be released into this account. If a solicitor is handling it, they will have a trust account set up for receiving funds. Once everything has been gathered and any legal matters been dealt with  and debts paid and anything else (tax return to date of death for example), then the estate can be dispersed as per the will. Using a solicitor means they do all of this.

Write everything down as you do it. I probably should have put this one first. You make so many phone calls and will have trouble remembering who told you what. And you forget if you rang the electricity company or the phone company and who was sending a refund cheque and who was sending a bill to be paid.

Notify Centrelink, the tax office, electoral office, Medicare, etc. I think they are all linked up these days and when you notify one government department, it will carry through to the others. That’s what happened when we moved and I changed my address. I updated it with one and I got confirmation letters from others. I imagin I will need to take the death certificate with me. I will start at Centrelink as Medicare is in the same place these days.

There will be things that I have missed in this post. Like I said, I haven’t done this before and I am learning as I go.

I know that I do need to organise a “Return Thanks” notice in the newspaper. I also need to email the Parish Secretary to ask the size of the memorial plaque that goes on the wall with Dad’s ashes so we can choose the wording. We tried to have a look at some prior to Dad’s funeral but the gate was locked. So google it is. I will put a suggestion forward to the family and see if they would make any changes. It’s not something that is mine, it is for all the family so they need the opportunity for input.

So that’s a bit of a run down of what you do as an executor. It’s not hard, it’s just unknown territory. Hopefully it will be a long time before you need to step into that role.

Karen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Organising a Funeral

Okay, so those of you who are friends on my personal page (almost all of you) would know by now that my Dad passed away from cancer on 7th Sept.

As Dad’s cancer advanced, his goal was to reach his 78th birthday because his own Dad passed away at 77. Dad turned 78 on 1st Sept. He did it! Then he let go, too tired and weak, with little quality of life to warrant continuing the fight. He spent less than 24 hours in hospital. He was ready to meet his God.

There was a wonderful team of family, friends and nurses helping to care for Dad, without whom he would have had to go into a care facility as life has seen his 3 offspring spread around the country and globe. Neighbours popped in or called out as they passed his place to make sure he was okay, the women cooked meals and baked cakes to keep his sweet tooth satisfied. You know when someone says “let me know if there is anything I can do”……..I sent some very ripe bananas to a neighbour and asked her to bake something with them or else they were being thrown out and within half an hour we had warm banana muffins in our hands. Something to offer visitors as they came.

Dad was a very practical and organised man. (I wonder if that has rubbed off on me?!) He prepaid his funeral, had his readings and hymns for the funeral chosen, had me authorised as his Power of Attorney and Medical Guardian for when he could no longer get around and/or make sound decisions, made sure I had contact numbers for anyone he has professional services with, went through is financial records with me, ensured I have access to his computer, introduced me to the lady at his Church who puts the funeral service together, organised catering for his wake and did almost everything he could except book in the date.

Which is where I came to my first hiccup!

I rang the funeral directors and organised an appointment. We chose a date and time and tried to ring the Priest to make sure it was okay. After two days of leaving messages and escalating it to the Bishop’s office we discovered the Priest was away on retreat and as a result the Parish Secretary was not needed to be in the office, hence the answering machine hadn’t been checked to be able to return my call. A few more phone calls between a few people saw Father ring the funeral home (great timing as I had popped in and was there at the time) to advise that the original date didn’t suit.

In the meantime I had been to the venue where the wake is to be held to put Dad’s plans into place with the tentative date and to pay a deposit. The caterer had already told me that it would be no trouble to change the date, so we did.

Cue me making a phone call to the funeral coordinator at the Parish – only to leave a message on her answering machine. I have since discovered that she is away! Dad, you were so organised, we couldn’t have everything run smoothly, could we?! Another lady at the Parish is helping with what needs to be done there.

Dad lived in a complex owned by a local aged care service but the complex was completely independent living, with no staff onsite. I have a name and contact number to ring but guess what? That lady is away until Monday!!!! We have two weeks from the date of death to clear out the villa – I know this because Dad had already called to ask. I’m sure the company will have heard along the grapevine by now but they would need to be officially notified by the family.

So my next job is to organise pall bearers. I have teed up 4 out of 6 so far and may go with a 7th, depending if those I have in mind are able to attend Dad’s funeral. That is something I would rather ask people over the phone rather than by email, so those calls will be made tomorrow. Dad was happy with the list of names I came up with when he asked me to take this task on.

Anyway, we have a funeral. It’s a bit like organising a wedding in that everything has to line up and you feel stressed until you have everything in neat rows.

I haven’t had a big cry yet, just a couple of times with a few tears. Like I said to Dad, the emotional side will catch up with me later. First, I have jobs to do. I am very much like him in this regard.

My writing tonight has been a brain dump – there is so much bouncing around in there I just had to get it out to make sense of it.

Hope you don’t mind Dad!

Karen xx

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Marketing

I wrote a post the other day, talking about markets and how we like a good one.

On Saturday, we headed up to Helensvale to check out the Night Quarter. This is a market on Friday & Saturday nights with live entertainment and where all the stalls are converted shipping containers! 

There were some vacant stalls/empty containers but I guess they are full in the summer season. What we found was mostly food stalls and fewer general stalls. There are only so many dream catchers to see.

It was still a bustling place & at $3 per teen & adult entry fee, I imagine the organisers are covering a good chunk of their costs.

We could imagine it on a warm summer evening,  food aplenty (SO much to choose from), band playing, window shopping, bliss!

But being winter, there were some empty containers & we were finished pretty quickly, so headed back to Surfers for dinner.

Sunday saw us head up to Mt Tambourine, or Tambourine Mountain, or whatever it is called!

Being the second Sunday of the month, the markets were on at the Showground. There were SO many cars that we were tempted to keep on driving, but then figured that if there were THAT many people going, then we should not give up. And they were great! Well worth the hike back to the car. Lots of local produce like avocados and bananas and lots of stalls with handmade stuff- like the timber serving platters that I love but won’t fork out that much cash for and outdoor settings that my dreams are made of and there were some great metal sculptures! If we lived locally there was so much I could buy. Lots of chutneys & sauces & spices & all that good stuff! We ended up buying a new bag to store our plastic bags and an apron. Easy to transport back to Scone!

We had lunch there and by golly, I was super impressed with the prices! A container with 3 large rice paper rolls was only $8. I would have expected to pay $5 for each roll. German sausage in a bun (glorified hot dogs) were only $5. Hunter Valley Gardens, if you are reading this (yeah,right), you need to take note & reduce your prices! (Yeah, right!).

There was a chap there singing for our entertainment & let me tell you- listening to a guy in his 60s singing older songs was a darned sight better than the band that was thrashing it out at their first appearance at the Night Quarter the previous night. We must be getting old!

So after dragging the kids around there for a while and feeding them lunch, we headed off to the Gallery Walk. Which I suppose you would say is the lap of the main street filled with boutiques/galleries to browse. 

It was definitely a good way to spend a day out. The kids did marvellously to not complain. We have one who has just recovered from a cold & one who has both a cold and is recovering from an ankle injury. 3 out of 4 of us are dosed up on cold & flu tablets. 

I bought a necklace at the right end of the street. I find it amusing that all the $50 items were reduced to $10. There were tables of them, so it just goes to show how unrealistic the retail prices are.

I also bought some more kombucha. Yummy!

Anyway, we browsed lots of shops with handmade, crafty items, candles, fair trade/Oxfam stuff, lollies and more jewellery than you could poke a stick at, but my favourite would have to be the cuckoo clock shop. 

Anyway, this was the bulk of our weekend and the kids are relieved that we aren’t heading off to any markets tomorrow! 

We’re thinking of going back to Wet’n’Wild instead. That will make them smile!

Cheers, 

Karen. 

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Too old to ride?

We spent a day at Movie World this week, which involved us going on lots of rides.

As Liam and I queued up to go on the Green Lantern roller coaster, I noticed that I didn’t see ladies of my age lining up. Or men (Megan isn’t tall enough so Ray took her for an ice cream instead), it was mostly teenagers.

Which got me thinking- at what age is it no longer “socially acceptable” to ride the roller coasters. Or the other rides? Or the  waterslides at Wet n Wild?

When the students at school discovered through Liam that we were coming to the Gold Coast and theme parking, some of them asked if I was going on the rides. They seemed pretty impressed that I do & sounded disappointed when they said that their Mums sit & watch instead.

Now, I happen to like the rides at the theme parks. Yes, some of them are scary, but over the years I’ve been on them with the kids and laughed through each one so the kids wouldn’t be scared. Because a scared parent means an even more scared child. So you don’t let the fear show. Fortunately the kids steer clear of the really scary rides. It means I still get turned upside down three times on the Green Lantern though!

So I ask the question. How old is too old to ride the rides? 30? 40? 50? Dads usually get more leeway as they are the parent who rides with the kids whilst Mum minds hats & sunnies and watches From a safe distance! 

Is there an age at which you think adults are too old to ride the rides?

Karen.

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I need some tact-ical advice

Straight to the point- how do I tactfully tell reception that we don’t like our rooms at our holiday accommodation? 

Let me fill you in, we stayed at this resort this time last year & loved the rooms we were in. When we checked out, we told them we would be back these holidays & they said we could request the same room. Which of course doesn’t mean we would get it but we could ask for it. So we did. Several times, as we made payments towards paying our accommodation. And we didn’t get it. We were demoted 9 floors, to a room that skirts the side of the building & has a longer, narrower layout as a result. And different views. The washing machine & dryer are as old as the hills & sound like they are going to blow up or cark it any minute now. And they are SO noisy! Even way down the other end of the long hallway they are disruptive. The oven must be from the 1970s & like all things of that era (me included), it takes a long time to get going. 

These are first world problems, we know, but very frustrating when we are here for a holiday. We don’t want to have to battle or wrestle with appliances, we want them to work smoothly. We paid for a room with a full kitchen so we could actually use it, it’s not there for decoration. And the frying pan needs to be large, not small. It is a 2 bedroom family apartment, it needs cookware that caters to family needs.

Frankly, if we were put in this apartment last year, we would not have booked here this year- we would have chosen somewhere else in Surfers- there are plenty of choices when you are booking 9 months in advance. And I think this place needs to know that we wouldn’t have returned. And that we won’t return next year unless they can convince us to. If I feel like this, there must be others who feel the same.

So now I need your best tips on how to politely complain. I don’t usually make complaints so I’m not an expert on this!

Please tell me how.

Ready, set, go!

Karen.

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Markets!! (And other stuff).

I love markets. 

I have memories of going clothes shopping with Mum and later with my friends, as a teenager. The Wollongong Showground markets was the place to shop in the mid 1980’s. I still remember a white skirt with panels of lace- it’s hard to describe, but I loved it & I wore it to school on a mufti day & a friend joked that she was going to break into my room & steal it because she loved it too! (RIP Janet, taken too young).

Anyway, where I am going with this post is that we have small markets in our country town. Small population equals small markets. It makes sense. 

So when we go on holidays we keep an eye out for markets. There is so much more to see at markets supported by bigger populations. And tourists, although we do try to steer clear of the stuff that’s aimed for tourists. 

Today we were on the road to our holiday destination & we stopped at Pottsville to visit friends as it was on our way & we had time to kill before we could check in to our accommodation . Hi Kim & Luis! Thanks for your welcoming hospitality. Before stopping in we discovered the Pottsville markets we on, so off we went! (Sorry Mum, we’ll catch up with you soon!)

I got a bit excited when I found these! I tasted a couple of kombucha drinks & decided on the one below. I’ll open it tomorrow. We had some of the pickled/cultured vegetables with dinner tonight.

Those of you who are into fermented foods & probiotics will understand my excitement! 

She has an online shop too- yay! I’ll just have to check out postage costs to Scone.

So we’ve arrived at our destination on the Gold Coast, our annual pilgrimage so to speak & we’ve collected assorted brochures on what to do. Carrara markets are on weekends, we didn’t get there when we were here last year. I remember going there about 25 years ago & they were good but nowhere near the size they are now.

We have also discovered that there is a market on at Tambourine Mountain next Sunday so are planning to make that the day we go exploring there. We haven’t been there before.

And we went to the promenade markets here in Surfers Paradise this evening.

And of course there are lots of family & friends to catch up with, who live on the Gold Coast or close by. It’s important to maintain these relationships in real life & not simply let the online world be our only contact. So there is an element of planning & coordinating to do, whereas we like to see what each day looks like weather wise before making arrangements. But we are here for slightly longer this year, so we will definitely make time to fit everything & everyone  in.

First impression on our accommodation this year is that it’s not as good as last year’s room. We booked the same resort & asked for the same room (reception told us as we checked out last year that we could), however we have ended up 9 storeys lower but with views of both the ocean and the river. I don’t like the layout of this suite but it might grow on me.

Anyway, it’s home for the next two weeks and it’s a darned sight warmer than Scone, so I’ll take it!

Cheers, 

Karen.

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Joy in simple things

We had a pretty big frost last night.

When I was walking our young Miss into school this morning, there were two little girls who were almost jumping up and down with excitement.

I don’t know them and they don’t know me, but they started telling me about the snow on the grass “I can’t believe we got snow, there’s snow here at school”. It was the frost, still there in the shaded section at 8:30 in the morning. So of course I enthusiastically continued the conversation with them about how cold their hands would be if they picked it up without gloves and how lucky they were to remember to wear their jumper that day. The Mum kind of stuff! I didn’t have the heart to tell them that their “snow” hadn’t fallen from the sky.

Pure wonderment. Pure joy.

Kids being kids.

Taking joy in simple things. In nature. Like smelling flowers and admiring the different colours of leaves.

There needs to be more of it.

At what age did we stop being child-like?

Karen.

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Another Goal Reached

This morning I weighed myself. As I do. Every. Single. Day.

Which is a really bad thing to do, apparently, if you are trying to lose weight. Because weight goes up and down every day and you may weigh yourself at a time when it is up rather than down. You are only supposed to “weigh in” once a week or so.

Yeah, nah.

I want instant results. I want to know that my efforts today have made an impact today. If I wait a week, I could have wasted a week doing something that I needn’t have. Or not doing something that I should have. I’m impatient when it comes to weight loss. Like, I’ve been on a diet for two days now, I should have lost six kilos by now! Unrealistic expectations – you know how it is………

Anyway……….after losing 20kg in 20 weeks, it has taken me around 6 months to lose the next 10kg. That sounds like such a long time. But it is a body balancing, sustainable rate of weight loss. That’s what I’m going to call it anyway.

It means I have now lost 30kg. That’s one of my milestones – yay me!

When I started this Low Carb High Fat way of eating, my goal was to lose 40-45kg, depending on how I look when I reach figures like that. I have gone from having to buy size 20 jeans this time last year to buying size 14 this year. And they are starting to have a bit of spare room in them. I would like to wear a size 12 – I think anything smaller would be too small for me. So I’m simply going to continue eating this way (this is a lifestyle, not a diet that you go on and off) and I’m going to let my body decide for itself at what weight it wishes to settle. I don’t have a time limit. I trust this way of eating to do its job.

Because we really, really enjoy all the yummy food we get to eat.

Cheers,

Karen.

 

 

 

 

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Thermie Dinners

I cooked not one, but TWO meals in my Thermomix last night. Now this is a really  big deal for me, because although I have had my Thermie for almost three years, I still don’t use it to it’s full potential.

Coles has frozen salmon on special this week, so in my travels I stopped and bought some. Three out of four of us who live at home like salmon. Miss 8 is not a fish fan.

The beauty of a Thermomix meal is that it only takes about 20 minutes to cook. Which means I can cook more than one meal in a single evening.

A bit like when I was in Tupperware and was able to promote the stack cooker as a means of being able to get dinner cooked in 20 minutes.

Meal # 1: Dinner for Miss 8 went something like this:

I had 2 chicken thighs defrosted in the fridge (in a zippy bag labelled 3 x chicken thighs, go figure!)

I followed a “clone of sticky chicken” recipe that I printed off the recipe community a few years ago. That invoved the bowl, 60g sweet chilli sauce (I used a sugar free one), 30g soy sauce, 60g peanut butter (the recipe said crunchy but I used smooth) and 20g honey (next time I will use sugar free maple syrup or a carb free sugar alternative). Anyway, I cooked this for 2.5 minutes on Veroma, speed 1. I added the 2 chicken thighs to the bowl and hit reverse stir for about 30 seconds, just long enough to coat the chicken in the marinade. Then I left it all in the bowl and headed to a neighbour’s house for a chit chat. Because it’s REALLY hard for us to catch up, even though we only live a few houses away from each other.

Anyway……the recipe says to bake the chicken in the oven for 30-40 minutes, however I knew that most foods can be steamed in the Thermie for around 20 minutes. So I loaded her up: 500g water in the bowl, a bit of rice in the basket in the bowl, marinated chicken in the lower shelf of the steaming attachment and frozen peas and corn in the top shelf of the steaming compartment. Set the machine for 20 minutes, Veroma temp, speed 4.

The result was a yummy meal that Miss 8 wolfed down! Except the vegetables of course – she needs a little extra encouragement to eat her vegetables, but had a really good go at her dinner. And there is some chicken and rice left 0ver for another meal for her.

Meal #2: Dinner for the rest of us went something like this:

VERY loosely based on the “Herbed Salmon Gratin with Zucchini and Carrot Ribbons” recipe that I printed of the recipe community website a few years ago. To say  “very loosely based” means that I used the recipe purely for inspiration as I didn’t use zucchini or carrot!

Here’s what I did instead:

500g water in the bowl

1/2 teaspoon vegetable stock added to the water

To the basket inside the bowl, add some brussels sprouts and some large florets of cauliflower.

To the base compartment of the steamer, add some green beans and broccoli.

To the top component of the steamer, add the pieces of salmon, skin side down. I sprayed the steamer with olive oil so the salmon wouldn’t stick. Because the slots in the steamer are a pain to clean when there is food stuck in them!

To the salmon, add some chopped shallots and a good shake of garlic powder.

Set your Thermie to cook for 20 minutes, Veroma temp, speed 4 and go and do something else in the meantime.

In my meantime, in a frypan on the stove, I cooked some asparagus spears and sliced red capsicum, in butter, sprinkled with garlic powder and truffle salt.

Once the Thermie sang to me to indicate that its cooking time was finished, Hubby had arrive home from work and jumped in to help dish up dinner. Whilst he was “plating up”, I threw some cream and mustard powder into the juices in the bowl of the Thermomix and cooked it for a minute or two with the Measuring Cup off in an attempt to thicken it up. Yeah, I should have cooked it for around 5 minutes to get it to the thickness I was hoping for, but it was very experimental and Ray was already plating up so there was no time to lose.

What we ended up with was:

  • Meal 1 – a very delicious chicken dish that I will make again but using a lower carb sugar free maple syrup instead of honey and using vegetables instead of rice.
  • Meal 2 – a yummy salmon meal with plenty of vegetables, another one to make again.

No, I don’t have photos – naughty me! I was too busy being impatient to eat than to take pics. I will next time, I promise!

Happy Eating,

Karen.

 

 

 

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Who let the sheep out?

We headed off to Merriwa, a small town with a history of all things sheep related.

Each year they have a Festival of the Fleece so we headed out there. We have been before and it is an enjoyable day out. The town turned on beautiful weather, although the breeze was cold.

There were market stalls to browse, vintage cars to see, wood carving to watch, sheep shearing demonstrations and lots of other goings on.

A few photos from this year’s festival:

Megan patting sheep

Megan patting some sheep

 

my view of the street parade

My view for the street parade. When you are 6 feet tall you shouldn’t plonk yourself in front of someone who is short. I don’t have many photos because I couldn’t see! We ended up giving up trying to watch the parade and went back to browsing the stalls instead.

 

running of the sheep

I held my phone up & hoped for a successful photo. The running of the sheep.The sheep are wearing red socks on their front legs as they are herded along the main street with a large crowd watching on.

 

checking out quilts

Hanging of the quilts.

 

hanging quilts

More quilts to admire. We got to vote for our top two.

 

items for premmies

Beanies and booties to be donated for babies in the NICU to wear.

 

quilts to be donated

These quilts will be donated to Ronald McDonald House.

 

quilts for charity

More quilts to be donated. What a great gesture.

 

And that’s the way our day out went.

Karen.

 

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