I put off closing out husband's bank accts until last........as well as switching the house over ect because......well........because for me that just made his death far too real. It still does, but I no longer have a choice. So I gathered the paperwork and contacted the bank he has the accts in (not our normal bank) after an eternity on terminal hold (literally I was hung up on twice and had to call back) I finally get to talk to the manager who said my brilliant husband did not list anyone as beneficiary to the bank accts. So folks a really informed FYI here, if you and your spouse don't share accts....get both names on them or at the very least make certain each other are listed as beneficiaries. Because now I have to pay at least 400.00 for a lawyer to get myself established as executor of husband's estate. The acct is now frozen.......and I can't pay any bills. Bank manager recommended a lawyer the banks work with often for this sort of thing. (small town) So......I call the lawyer. She told me the paperwork she needed ect. Oddly enough they don't need my marriage license to prove I'm his wife/widow but they needed all 4 kids names and addresses. This sent me into an anxiety attack solely due to katie. She doesn't know I have husband's retirement money. I don't want her to know as she has no claim to it. So soon as the lawyer told me she had to have all the kids names my heart dropped to the floor. I have no trouble seeing katie attempting to get her hands on some of that money. It's the whole reason she came to ohio.....in hope of getting an inheritance from mother in law. Soooo, went in a little nervous. I asked about why they needed the kids names because there was a large chance katie will ignore the letter from them. (or she'll try to snatch some of the money) Lawyer said it's a formality for the court, the kids will receive a form they're to sign making me the executor of husband's estate, which allows me to close those 2 accts, change the house into my name ect. Lawyer said if they don't hear from katie, they'll next send a certified letter. If they don't hear from that then it doesn't matter. They just have to make the attempt to contact her. There will be no issue from my bio kids. I explained I've been using the acct to pay bills ect but of course now it's frozen, so asked how long this would take. She said at the most probably a month. But she can get a waver from the judge so I can pay the funeral director........which is what I was trying to do yesterday when we couldn't get the card to work. And here is a funny about small towns......funeral director IS lawyers husband.......AND they were mother in law's next door neighbors for oh about 8 yrs. I used to talk to them all the time when over at mother in law's house. It just didn't click until I heard the lawyers name! lol (which might be why funeral director bent over backward.....other than he's a super nice man to begin with) And lawyer will let me pay her when I can get access to the darn money again. Now while having to pay that 400.00 (may be more) hurts............it also may be a good thing. Something prodded me to ask her about the house insurance we got when we signed the loan papers that the house should be paid in full if one of us died. She said she's used to working with our loan bank over such things and she'll contact them about it. If that policy exists....and she sees no reason why it wouldn't.......she'll make the responsible party pay up. That would be an ENORMOUS relief, and would cut my bills by 450.00 a month! So some heavy duty prayers there and board power would be greatly appreciated. It didn't seem to surprise her at all that both loan bank and insurance co are pointing at each other over that policy. It can take little as a week as long as katie gets her thing signed and mailed back. I hope it doesn't take a month, I've got a house payment to make and bills to pay. omg I'll tell you what, I will so have all this stuff sorted out for my kids down to the nth degree. Actually I've already started. And once this estate stuff is cleared up I'm doing my will with the lawyer. And the good thing about that? All the stuff that came from mother in law when she passed.........actually came to ME, not husband, was stated so in HER will so that katie couldn't lay claim to anything even in the future. It was willed to ME to give to MY 3 bio kids and perhaps katie's children if they grow into responsible adults. Smart lady mother in law. lol As this just hit me why she did it that way this morning. (I always wondered) Katie being my step child gave her that option she would not have normally had. I will not leave my kids such a mess to figure out and clean up. And when I switch the house and loan over to my name only, I'm going to see if I can get that insurance that pays it off if I should die........if somehow the other got dropped, which I don't think it did. Bills will be organized. All house, car, ect paperwork will be organized ect and all kept in my two desks where it can easily be found. I am soooooooo not looking forward to taxes this year. I'm going to have to ask the lawyer about that as well.