Managing Alone MABS
At a very vulnerable time in life the partner of a deceased person is required to make decisions involving financial matters that s/he may never had to deal with before on their own. The emotional trauma which critical illness and death brings, coupled with the increased costs associated with a sudden death or a long illness ending with death renders many overburdened and stressed to the point where it is difficult, without assistance, to cope. For low income families these decisions can involve thousands of Euro, in some cases incurring a debt that can impoverish them for years. In such circumstances MABS can provide confidential, independent and free advice.
Debts of a spouse/partner:
Coping with the death of a loved one is difficult enough without having the added stress of dealing with money matters. Not only do surviving spouses/partners have to practice debt management skills on one income, but in many cases, they may also be responsible for handling their spouse’s outstanding debts. Many are under the impression that when a person dies, their debts die with them. This is not the case in most instances. Often, grief-stricken widows or widowers are left with responsibility for large amounts of debt, and are having to manage that debt at a time when they are not in a good frame of mind.
MABS is a Free, Confidential and Independent service for people in debt or at risk of getting into debt. It is funded by the Department of Social and Family Affairs. It has over 60 offices nationwide staffed by trained and experienced money advisers. MABS operates a national Helpline 1890 283 438 (Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm) and its website is www.mabs.ie. MABS provides advice on money management issues at key stages in the lifecycle and also in relation to key life events. MABS, on a regular basis, provides advice and support for people who have spouses or other family members who are ill, some critically, or recently deceased
Having independent advice available is very important. We would recommend that independent, clear basic legal and financial information should be sought on the following:
• Funeral service and burial costs
• Managing on a reduced income. Budgeting and current bills (rent, mortgage, credit cards, etc.)
• Security of the family home. Estate, will matters – intestacy, probate etc. and outstanding personal debts of the deceased
• Income and employment matters (such as pensions, or social welfare benefits)
• Investments, insurance
• Tax documents (Income or property related)
• Miscellaneous expenses
• Sourcing and filing copies of all relevant information on accounts, debts, insurances etc so that they are available
• Contacting and negotiating with creditors
The cost of a funeral can place a considerable burden on low income families. In our view appropriate generic information should be available on all the costs associated with funerals. In MABS we are aware, from our experience, that many people from low income families incur considerable costs when purchasing funeral services. At a very stressful time the partner of the deceased is required to make quick decisions involving thousands of Euro, which in some instances places a burden of debt that can impoverish a family for years. In MABS experience, there is a risk that in these circumstances family members may go to illegal money lenders to borrow money for a funeral.
Where funeral costs are placing an inordinate burden on a families’ ability to budget, funeral directors and others should be made aware of this and affordable and sustainable repayment arrangements should be put in place. If advice and support is needed in contacting creditors and negotiating affordable repayments contact the MABS helpline 1890 283 438.
Article written for Widow.ie by;
Social Policy and Communications Officer