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Thread: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

  1. #1
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    Default Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    I had a friend crap out on Saturday at 2:00 AM... sat up in bed complaining of feeling "weird", then keeled over and was dead before he hit the floor (according to the Docs) of a massive brain aneurysim.

    This isn't so much about him, but the effect this has on his Significant Other, a lady he'd been living with for five years.

    She'd sold her house and moved in with him last year, and while they weren't planning on an imminent marriage, he was trying to persuade his (20-odd-year) estranged wife to give him a divorce so they could marry. As you may imagine, most of the stuff (house, car, phone, internet) was in his name, although they had separate bank accounts and separate brokerage accounts.

    The Wife showed up at the hospital and completely shouldered the S.O. out of the way and, when the papers had all been issued, cornered the S.O. IN THE GRIEVING ROOM, and asked how soon she intended getting her stuff out of "MY" house.

    NOT a pretty situation. S.O. is devastated and just about comatose. Several of her friends showed up on Sunday and packed her and moved her things into a friends (unused) apartment and are mounting a "watch" on her. She's tough and will recover, but what a blow!

    So, what's all that in honour of?

    I know there are more than a few couples here on the Forum who are couples but haven't (or can't, or didn't want to) have their union "legitimized" in one way or another.

    If, perchance, YOU happen to fall into this group, for GOD'S SAKE take some steps NOW to ensure that both you and your lover have legal status as far as the house/home, tangible assets you may have jointly acquired, bank and brokerage accounts, etc.,etc.

    GET LEGAL ADVICE AND HELP on this... it's a very tricky morass and even with good legal advice, it can get litiginously sticky, very quickly.

    The same thing happened to my Next-door-neighbour about five years ago. He and GF had set the date (May) and in January, he developed some sort of liver infection... was in the hospital four months and was due to be released the following week, just in time to be married, developed a staph infection and was dead in two days.

    She lost EVERYTHING but her clothes as it was all in his name, and his daughter (beneficiary in the will) took it all. GF wasn't even invited to the funeral.

    A more publicized case was that of Hepburn and Tracy.

    Take whatever steps you can to proactively alleviate the suffering of your S.O. should either of you pass. It's worth the effort.

    Farewell, Pat. I loved you like a brother, but in this case I can legitimately say, "I tol' ya' so!".

    Damn.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    That was the first thing I did when I found Sweet Thing. She never asked....but I took care to totally protect her....sorry about your friend....
    Last edited by paladin; 12-02-2008 at 03:12 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Sorry about your buddy.
    The Wife showed up at the hospital and completely shouldered the S.O. out of the way and, when the papers had all been issued, cornered the S.O. IN THE GRIEVING ROOM, and asked how soon she intended getting her stuff out of "MY" house.
    What a shrew. What happened to "Posession is nine tenths of the law"?
    "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Alice

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    There is someone in need of being "bitch slapped" if there ever was one. Sorry for the loss of your friend, Vince.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Sorry for your loss, Vince.

    This kind of thing is the major reason that I'm in favor of gay marriage (or the total separation of religious marriage and legal union); the legal alternatives allow too many people to challenge the relationship, the documents, ....

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    First Vince, very sorry for the loss of your friend. Secondly, thanks for bringing this up as it applies to me and I need to think about it more than I do. I'm curious if your friend's state (Pennsylvania?) has a common law marriage law. Washington State does not, to the surprise of a lot of people, but I understand most states do.

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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    I am sure my step mother with do the same and take what my father has built for over his career.

    Women, when it come to that kind of thing get nasty !

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Sorry for your loss Vince. I guess you and others here are at the age were we loose friends more and more frequently.

    BTW, good advise

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by htom View Post
    This kind of thing is the major reason that I'm in favor of gay marriage (or the total separation of religious marriage and legal union); the legal alternatives allow too many people to challenge the relationship, the documents, ....
    Exactly my thoughts. Sorry you lost a friend, Vince, but I'm glad your other friend has someone to stand with her in her loss.

    What are you doing about it?




  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by paladin View Post
    That was the first thing I did when I found Sweet Thing. She never asked....but I took care to totally protect her.
    Hands too small: Can't build his Wall!

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    First Vince, very sorry for the loss of your friend. Secondly, thanks for bringing this up as it applies to me and I need to think about it more than I do. I'm curious if your friend's state (Pennsylvania?) has a common law marriage law. Washington State does not, to the surprise of a lot of people, but I understand most states do.
    Pennsylvania abolished "Common Law" marriage many years ago.

    The point here is that technically, Pat was still married to wife one, even though they had not lived together for twenty years... she would not "allow" a divorce on religious grounds and Pat was too nice a guy to get all medieval on her in court and screw up the kids more than they already were. I had a similar situation where I lived separately from "The (censored)" for eight years before I finally said enough, and got a divorce decree. After a while, if begins to feel "natural" and you forget all about the legal ramifications.

    Thanks, all for your sympathies. I can't tell if I want to feel sad or just wanna kick his (now ethereal) ass.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Vince, I'm very sorry indeed. Dreadful situation.

    Here in Canada, after 2 years of co-habitation, the common law partner assumes half the assets/liabilities of the household ...
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Land of the Noble beaver, a civilized place, indeed.
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    Here in Canada, after 2 years of co-habitation, the common law partner assumes half the assets/liabilities of the household ...
    For some reason I'm thinking that's now six months, but I don't have a definitive source handy...

    What are you doing about it?




  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Fourty years after spouse number 1.....and her last 2 husbands and 5 kids.....when she has money problems she calls my son or daughter and has them call me for a "loan"....as soon as they call I know what it is for.....and with both husbands, at one time or another they have forged my name to documents to sell a piece of property, or to buy a car with minimum down and then drive off without further payments...Number 2 came back 4 years after the divorce with similar stunts after living with the first idiot for a year, then marrying another guy and divorcing him a year later.....from my experience...ya gotta get a clean break after the divorce and get all ties disposed of that can come back to bite ya......
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    The bottom line is that the gentleman was still legally married. Thus, at his death his property goes to his wife. Sad but true. Even if he had had a will, the wife probably would have contested it.

    We've had a couple of occasions over the years where a divorce was in progress and the other party kicks off. Amazing how the bitter couldn't wait to be divorced gal becomes "instant grieving widow" We even had one here in St. Augustine that won a major settlement against a trucking company when her soon-to-be (couldn't wait to be rid of the worthless bum)-ex drove under a truck making a u-turn on the highway...

    Heed Vince's advice to get your affairs (not just a will) in order. Also, heed the hidden message that maybe you consider your own affairs, should the person you are with not have his/hers in order...

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Sorry for the loss of your friend Vince. Sounds as though he was too nice for his own, and SOs good.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Sorry to hear about your friend Vince.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Sorry for you loss Vince,,I can't understand why folks don't get divorced when they are no longer together, esp. if they've taken up with someone new.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    I'm sorry for your loss, Vince.

    This is a situation that the S.O. in a gay relationship often faces. The disapproving family of the deceased partner swoops in and starts grabbing.
    " Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day."

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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Having just applied for Social Security, I discovered that the woman I was married to 30 years ago for a total of four months will get my SS survivors benefits instead of my SO that I have lived with for the last 22 years . This thread is reminding me that, among other things, I need to get that changed.

    Also, I have been told by an attorney friend that there is such a thing as a "marititious relationship" and in court a judge can rule based on that. He also said however, that it is a hell of a lot easier to just get married .

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    Having just applied for Social Security, I discovered that the woman I was married to 30 years ago for a total of four months will get my SS survivors benefits instead of my SO that I have lived with for the last 22 years.
    In fact if you'd had a dozen or so wives they'd ALL get a survivor's benefit as long as they haven't remarried.
    "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Alice

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Teetsel View Post
    In fact if you'd had a dozen or so wives they'd ALL get a survivor's benefit as long as they haven't remarried.
    She has remarried, but I haven't. Therefore she is my most recent legal survivor. But I may be misunderstanding it; I have a call in now to the ss office.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    She has remarried, but I haven't. Therefore she is my most recent legal survivor. But I may be misunderstanding it; I have a call in now to the ss office.
    Here's some quick answers to common divorce / survivor / length of marriage / benefit questions:

    http://www.ssa.gov/gethelp1.htm

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Sorry to hear of your loss, Vince. Ah, the tangled mess we weave behind...
    Hey! It's MY Hughniverse!

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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by Concordia...41 View Post
    Here's some quick answers to common divorce / survivor / length of marriage / benefit questions:

    http://www.ssa.gov/gethelp1.htm
    Thanks, good link. According to that, evidently marriages of less than ten years don't count.

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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    Vince, I'm very sorry indeed. Dreadful situation.

    Here in Canada, after 2 years of co-habitation, the common law partner assumes half the assets/liabilities of the household ...
    Tom if you are still legally married it still gets sticky in Canada I know I'm trying to get a divorce from my first one now after 12 years of seperation but I can't find her.My fiance is getting p.oed but at least I put everything in both names.still would be a hassle if anything happened to me.
    "Rise Again Majestic Spirit"

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Sorry Vince.

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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    What a tangled web we sometimes weave. But at least we aren't all black widow spiders, are we? Or are we? My BIL was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. He and his S.O. decided to go ahead and get married. A year later, he died. So tell me, why did he not update his will? Why were large chunks of his portfolio still jointly owned with his ex? Why has his ex's husband hired a lawyer? Why did the wife have to buy the two grown kids out in order to keep the house? We all thought this BIL was a multi-millionaire, but now his widow may lose the house.

    Write it all up, put it in a trust, keep the trust documents updated.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Yup. In the midst of life, and all that. At 52, he really didn't have that "intimation of mortality" yet, I suppose.
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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Don't know much about the law in the USA but I think the lady should get a lawyer and sue the estranged wife if it is anything like the law in Canada.

    Randy

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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Vince, I'm sorry about your friend.

    Time to fill out some paperwork.
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  33. #33
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Trust me, OldSub, here (and especially in Pennsylvania), the S.O. of an estranged person has as many rights as a run-down snake. Essentially she (or he) is, as far as the law is concerned, a non-person, having no legal connection to the deceased and therefore no legal standing. As long as there is still an undissolved marriage, that marriage takes precedence over all other considerations.

    Like Margo said. Suddenly the person who, just prior to their death, was less than the dirt beneath one's bootsoles becomes the dearly beloved departed.... at least until the goodies are appropriated.

    It may suck, but it's the law.
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Yeah - the SO would have some protection here too. Two years living together and its the same as being married.

    My wife works with a woman who was with a guy for 23 months and he broke it off. He came back after a few months and the clock was ticking again. Yep - 23 months and he's gone again. I doubt that he will be back.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Sudden death of a Significant Other...

    Quote Originally Posted by Katherine View Post
    Vince, I'm sorry about your friend.

    Time to fill out some paperwork.
    That's why I posted, Kit. To try and help prevent this particular albatross from coming home to roost on someone else I'm fond of.
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