My friend passed away last month and I attended the wake. He was a retired Navy man and we were both hired by Military Sealift Command the same day in January 1993.as merchant seaman. This is a story about those left behind. He had no idea that at age 61 he would have a heart attack and pass on his second day home on vacation from his ship. But one should be ready yesterday for the unexpected.
The part that got to me was this year 2014 was the year he was planning on retiring after 21 years sailing with the outfit. He was riding his last ship before putting in his papers, but he left behind a cautionary tale that woke me the hell up.
He was ill prepared and his widow is attempting to bury him and has $230 cash to her name, if she goes to the Retired Affaires Office and reports his death, his pension from the Navy will instantly stop. (She was never a US Citizen) and there for cannot collect it. All US Bank accounts will be put into probate and no funds may be withdrawn until that clears. His two children will collect Social Security as they are still young and in school. His house is fully paid for and they have a worry free place to live. His MSC pension 401K is depleted down to a small amount as he took two advances to purchase a Brand new Ford Escape in 2010 and a 2013 Mitsubishi Montero last year, but again both fully paid for.
His wife has in her name a MSC death Insurance in a goodly amount so in time she will be alright. But today and for the next few months while all the paperworks and bureaucratic rig-a-ma-roll is handled she is in tuff city. Someone told her to hold off on reporting his demise until after she can hit the ATM every 24 hours and draw out the max amount ($600.00 per day) I nodded on that idea! (But didn’t say a word)
I advised her to keep one car and sell the other as soon as she can, to cover her cost of living for the next 3 to 4 months when all the paperworks should be done. Being he was a close friend I will aid her as much as I can.
Another friend suggested I buy the Ford, and as much as I would like to and can, I see the problems with doing that. Things like; OH that Paul took advantage of the widow when she was in dire straits. Not her mind you, but the small minded wagging tongues, who love to talk. Better a stranger buy it.
All of this has woken me the hell up, if I don’t bring at least PNP 500,000.00 to the Philippines Mayang will be in exactly the same situation when I pass. That money here in a local bank in only her name will be a buffer until all the paperworks clear and she can start receiving insurance and the bank accounts are active again. Her name is on every account that we have jointly including a few IRA’s. Our house and car are paid for, and I’ve not borrowed money since 1985 until this year but with “Death Insurance on the loan). My visa is insured and paid off (Small balance anyway) upon receipt of the death certificate.
But it took a sad event for me to see the pitfalls of the way I was going. You see I knew that the rest of Mayang’s life would be financially fine but I forgot about the six months waiting for all of the paperworks to clear. I’ll fix that as I write this. On the subject of “Fix That” there are fellow Americans who for a 20% charge of the money they recover for the widow will do all the paperwork for them. There truly are bottom feeders everywhere.
There will be no lecturing from me I’m just pointing out what I have just observed in the last week or so. I will dearly miss my friend and Shipmate. But once more I’ll thank him, as my eyes have been opened; I just wish I could have learned this lesson in a much different way.