A Practical Point in the Face of Tragedy

May 11, 2015

I was shocked this morning to wake up to the news that a sorority sister’s husband had passed away suddenly.  He was the same age as my husband and I, a fraternity brother of my husband, in fact.

Getting older, the sudden loss of a peer due to health reasons rather than an accident, coupled with watching our parents age, brings uncomfortable thoughts and stark realities into clearer focus.

These tragic circumstances always bring practical questions to my mind.  In the case of my sorority sister, her husband was a self-employed attorney and she was his paralegal. I am left wondering if they have life insurance, what is the status of the cases they had pending, do they have savings that will get her through the next few weeks?  How will she continue to provide for her daughter now that not only is her husband gone, but also her job?

It is said that nothing is for certain but death and taxes.  And as cliché as that is, there is truth in the statement.  So many hurts will be resurrected next year as she goes through the process of filing their final tax return as a couple, if there is a need for an estate return, gathering information and working to determine what is actually needed to get this requirement of life – even in death – completed.

I have prepared tax returns for soldiers killed in action, for couples after a sudden death, and for those that know the inevitable is coming.  It is tragic, and an honor to serve those who are coping with this pain.  There are tools, resources, and professionals out there guide loved ones through this process, call upon them to make this as smooth as this process can be.

For friends and family assisting those they love through this tragic time, be a shoulder to cry on, a rock in the tide, and a source of information in the time of need.

Here is a starting point from the IRS, http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Deceased-Taxpayers-Probate-Filing-Estate-and-Individual-Returns-Paying-Taxes-Due

Nothing will make this process completely pain free, but we can strive to make it less stressful and painful.

This article was first published on May 11, 2015, via Linked In Pulse on my Linked In profile.