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Showing posts with label record keeping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label record keeping. Show all posts

Friday, February 28, 2014

Record Keeping


 I am entering a time when I want to clean my house and tend my garden (literally and figuratively), gather my family in healing hugs, and begin the preparation and reflection that is the Lenten season. As Easter approaches, so does the birth of our newest grandchild, another reason for "getting ready." 

 I  rely on strength beyond myself.  Grace! I want to be sure I have things recorded and in order.  I have a project started that I  call Answers - answers to all the questions that can come when illness or loss occur.  I am reminded that even though Mother died in 2006, her development of Alzheimer's took her sharp mind away beginning around 6 years earlier.  It was her record keeping long before that which became so important recently.

Mother had never taken care of bills and bank accounts, etc. when Daddy died in 1982.  During the next 15 years she did a marvelous job of doing just that and kept meticulous records.  She would have been horrified to discover what happened with a property tax delinquency.  I believed at the beginning that this was another lash of the Alzheimer Dragon's tail, and indeed, the difficulty uncovering records for the 2 years just prior to my moving her and beginning to handle everything was affected by that.  But her previous record keeping was in the end what helped me answer the questions I needed to satisfy my curiosity before paying up.  Many times she had spoken to me about a tiny amount of royalty interest, and the lease records are in those old files.  The bottom line was a result of a combination of things.

  1) She sold her little house in 1998, distributed the income from that to my sister and me, filing a forwarding address.

  2) Because royalty property tax is only assessed when production/income is a significant enough amount to warrant a statement, apparently she did not receive any tax bill, so no tax payments in 1998 and 1999.  By then, the forwarding address order would have expired.
   
3) In 2000-2001, the first years of said delinquency, the tax office said they did not have any returned mail.  My only guess is that the people who were then at that address just pitched the bills thinking it was "old" and not necessary to return. 

 4) In 2002, I moved her here and she became a resident of another county where she died. 

 5) Since I had never paid that kind of tax for her, I wasn't aware I should be paying it!  I do think my attorney was remiss in failing to get her death filed in Smith County as well as Fort Bend.  If he did that, they would have had a traceable address for the last 6 years. So the last 6 years of delinquency were indeed mine!

Aging gracefully and dying well are important for us to consider thoughtfully and deliberately as we continue to care each other.  God's good gifts of daily bread continue to be our source of strength and energy.


Bad Day

the loud knock at the door was not my neighbor
a uniform, herald of gravitas
papers extended, not a handshake
do you know this person?

I dread to look,
astonished, say yes
my mother, I say
this was her last address

what can you want?
she died 6 years ago
can I help you?
yes, that's me, her daughter

Tax delinquency?
Impossible.  I paid her bills.
 12 years ago?
Interest? Penalties? Fees?


This one day I am glad she isn't here.