Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Putting the FU in Funeral

Banks can put the FU in funeral quicker than a fat kid devours a piece of cake. 

Obviously I just went through this about four months ago so what I needed to do was already formed a checklist in my head.

1.  Call family and start the phone chain.
2.  Call my boss and let him know.
3.  Call the crematorium to make arrangements.
4.  Call bank to up limit on debit card to pay for services.**
5.  Write an obituary.
6.  Have memorial service.
7.  Bury Mom and Dad at the same time.

**This is where it got fucked up.  Let me explain....

One thing my Mom actually did beside getting herself into major debt was enroll my Dad as a member in the New Hampshire Cremation Society.  It's less expensive and easier than an actual funeral, the only downfall is when you pick up the urn with the remains they put it in one of those reusable shopping bags at Target or your local super market....kinda weird.  Anyway, I started my checklist and got to number 4.  Now I am on my Dad's account to take care of the bills, pay the nursing home, etc.  I called the bank to make arrangements so I can pay people to take care of things, this is how the conversation went.

"Hello, my Dad has passed away, I need to up the limit on our debit card to pay for his cremation and other expenses due to death."

"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that, can you hang on one second?"

"Sure, my Dad's not going anywhere right now anyway, what's another few seconds?" (Not really, but it was what I said in my head.)

"OK, thanks for holding, can I take down your number an call you back?"

"Sure...my number is 1-800-EAT-MY-ASS."  (Again, not really.)

And I waited.....and waited....and waited....dammit, I need to pay the cremation place so they can go get my Dad.  I was a little upset so I called a different branch, there are two branches about the same distance.  Here's how that conversation went:


"OK, sure we can help you, you just need to come in and sign a form and we will take care of it."

"Great, why didn't the asshat this morning tell me this?" (Not really what I said, I said thanks and I would be right down.)

So I get down to the bank, sign the form and good to go.  I get back home, call the crematorium and we're all set.  Wrong...the crematorium called back and told me the card was declined twice.  I called the bank and asked what was going on, well.....I guess all they heard when I called the first time was:

"Blah, blah, blah, blah, my Dad passed away, blah, blah, blah, blah."

Because they put a freeze on the account and removed me from the power of attorney. 

I asked very calmly, "You had enough time to go into the computer and make a note to freeze the account but couldn't call me back?"


"Now I have no way of paying for my Dad's cremation?"

"Ummm, well...."

"Now what do I do?!?"

"Well we can release the funds in thirty days."

"Listen, my Dad is laying in a morgue at the hospital waiting to be picked up.  They won't pick him up without me paying them first, I suggest you figure out what to do so I can get the money to pay for my father's cremation and call...me...back."

"OK, I will call you back as soon as I find out what to do."

To make a short story long, they did call me back and told me I had to wait until the next day to get in touch with their legal department.  Que the next day.  I contacted the bank and they informed me that they can in fact release the funds but I would need to come in, sign a few forms and prove he was dead.  I have developed a severe twitch in my left eye now because of the scenario.  I asked , "How do I prove he's dead?  The death certificate won't be released until the cremation place picks him up and in order for that to happen I need to pay them." 

Now this is where the real fun begins....I was told to call the hospital where he passed, so I did.  I didn't get past the receptionist who told me she has never heard of this issue and I should call his primary care physician.  I called the primary care physician and the nurse told me that I had to call the hospital....I responded to her (and we can fuck being calm at this point) "His doctor was standing there with me when he died!"  After a few short tempered words she put me on hold and came back to tell me to call the funeral home when I was having him cremated.  Now my right eye is starting to twitch.

The funeral home or cremation place has been nothing but helpful, I would highly recommend this place if you live around her and need someone cremated.  The director has now taken the liberty of calling the bank to get everything squared away...I hope.  As I type this I am waiting (once again) for a phone call about this.

Fantastic people, I would highly recommend them.


  1. Wow, Kevin!
    So sorry to hear about this. Hope things start to smooth out for you soon. Wishing you peace.

  2. ??? I am actually at a loss for words!
    Hope this all gets sorted out soon.

  3. I am happy to say that everything worked out in the end, everything is proceeding according to plan.

    By the way Lily, I took a page out of your book with the pictures.

  4. Yep, I've had scenarios like that one myself. You can develop a quick case of Tourette's from it. Glad everything turned out OK.