Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Legal tangles and an exploding computer

For about ten years, I held power of attorney for a cousin in Canada. I hadn't seen her since I was twelve--which, believe me, was a long time ago. But she was incapable of handling her own affairs, and I was the only close relative. I remember my father years ago saying, "If anything happens to us, you will take care of Jenny, won't you." It was like a legacy.
Jenny died last May, intestate. I don't think she ever had a happy life, but she was perhaps the happiest she'd ever been in the provincial home where she lived the last few years. I grieve for all that she missed in life, but I'm glad she was comfortable, well cared for, and had a sense of being cared about.
Finally this month the Canadian courts named me as executor and sole heir. I had meantime arranged a funeral, burial, headstone--all the details that go with death. And I thought I was through. Today my computer exploded with emails from the Toronto lawyer and the trust company tax preparer. It's complicated enough when a person dies in this country  with a will--take away the will (I never would have asked her--it would have scared her) and put the only relative in another country, and it gets complicated beyond measure.
I apparently have to file two returns--one with the Canadian Revenue whatever (the trust company will do that--for a fee, I'm sure) and one to meet a new requirement of the Ontario judicial system (the lawyer will do that). We're not talking about much money here, and I can see it rapidly diminishing with legal fees. We had some discussion about filing under the new requirement--the lawyer said she didn't think I was required to but it was a risk. Seemed like a small risk until she mentioned the minimal fine is $1000 (okay, not the end of the world) and/or two years in jail (oops! the end of the world). We're filing.
But I got so I hated to check my email--and each time I heard from either of these wonderful people (they really are most helpful) I saw dollar signs spin before my eyes.
Meantime I got into another computer dither, trying to apply for a Twitter widget for my newly designed website--Twitter refused to accept my URL as valid. The web designer finally said she'd do it herself, and of course it worked the first time--after I'd tried ten times. At least I was glad to have that chore taken off my hands.
By the end of the afternoon, I needed a break desperately. The morning's snow had melted and the day turned gorgeous. My dining adventurer friend Betty and I went to the Tavern...and ended up across the aisle from my son-in-law who was having a drink with a client. We split an odd combination for dinner--the appetizer of deviled eggs (love them) and a bowl of rigatoni Bolognese. The Bolognese was neither the rich red sauce I expected nor the cream-added sauce I sometimes encounter, but it was meaty and good and I suspect pretty authentic. Good food is always a solace.


Marilynn Larew said...

I remember handling my mother's affairs and wondering how people with little education make it through all the hoops. It really was a full-time job for a while.

Judy Alter said...

Marilyn, and that was probably without the complications of a non-resident and a death without a will. My huge file keeps growing! Every time I think the end is in sight, something else comes up. Yikes!