Sunday, April 15, 2012

Death, Taxes and Christ has risen...again

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
                  -Benjamin Franklin

The recent history of one and the urgent future of another can certainly pack a wallop. Progressive blows.  Sorry Dorothy Parker, neither are “mental stimulants in rhyme” despite the title of your poetry book.  No one dies in the United States without a pile of paper work and being an executrix/executor is neither a privilege nor fun.

I am trying to file my deceased Dad’s 2011 taxes.

In the volumes of paperwork that I have gone through, enough to fill a Toyota Sienna Minivan, I made sure I was not throwing out anything important. I combed through stacks of sales receipts, brochures, house plans for a house that was built by a relative in 1931, my grandfather’s 1927 driver’s license, deeds to houses sold in 1949, 1968-2009 tax returns, and court filed name changes (there seems to be many of those in my family). I carefully shredded  anything that an identity thief might want to impersonate an 84 year old short Polish man who yelled “Jesus Christ!” at everything.  I abstained on the many items of true sentimentality.  

My oversight:  The folder clearly marked 2010 taxes, that I wanted to use as a guide, contained nothing but blank forms.

Thanks Dad. I am now saying my own “Jesus Christ!” 

Clearly "Jesus Christ!" has risen again this past Easter.

I guess I haven’t cleared Kubler-Ross’ "anger” part of grieving.  But I am not angry you are gone Dad. I am angry that you became in your last years such a horrible organizer, a procrastinator and a general pack-rat.

I should know. I unfortunately follow in your footsteps. Now if we can only find those three linked traits on some chromosomal loci. I hope for my childrens’ sake, it’s not autosomal dominant.

My father was not a man of great wealth.  His taxes should be straightforward with his modest income of his last years. But the IRS doesn’t like to hear of those stories.  I know that already by speaking with Agent # 109876 with one hand on the phone and the other plucking a violin.  And the forms!

So I thought to myself, I, the doctrix:  What have I learned from this? 

I can pass on the following lesson:  

 How to Avoid Being Named Executor/Executrix of an Estate:

·      Live a great distance from anyone who might name you in a will.  The  farther the better. Think Alaska is too far? Go to Siberia. Go native in Fuji.  California seems to work for some.

·      Don’t show up at funerals. Hey, they are dead, who’s to know? Except, of course, cousins that don't like you anyway. It will just reinforce their beliefs.  Hey, let them be an executor/executrix.
·      Avoid family celebrations like the plague. Let Christmas, New Year’s, Mother’s, Father’s Day etc. pass you by. Don’t call, text, Skype, email or buy cards.  The convenient “I forgot” excuse usually works but a better one is “I can’t afford a calendar since the IRS put a lien on my car, house and even the dog."
·      Act totally fiscally irresponsible.  See that Porsche in the window?  Think you’ll look good in it? Buy it. The relatives won’t trust you will a dime afterward. May I suggest matching $600 Manolo Blahniks too?

·      Get drunk and curse them out at holiday celebrations. This may back-fire.  Just a word of caution since many relatives might also curse and get drunk at celebrations endearing you to them as “my kind of people.”

·      Do not go into a health care field or legal field.  If you have to pick a major in college, pick linguistics.  Always bore the relatives with details of Pre-Nubian tribe dialects of the 1700’s. The relatives didn’t trust your judgement then and certainly won’t now.

·      Don’t marry someone in the legal or medical field. Good advice overall, trust me.

·      For us ladies, change your last name.  A good move to cover your tracks from estate lawyers and that certain person in high school who invited you to a prom two days before the event. But there’s always Intellius, Zabasearch, etc.  Damn Internet.

·      Have a gazillion children who can’t identify grandma,  grandpa or crazy Uncle Harry (especially in a line-up). 

·      Visit their houses with flatulent and incontinent pets. They’ll never want you to visit, let alone talk to you again. I recommend Labrador puppies, black ones especially, with chewing issues.

·      Be cagey about your address and phone number.  Maybe they won’t name you if they can’t find you.When asked about your many household moves, just mention “the special prosecutor suggested it.”  

·      Don’t friend them on Facebook.  If you have already made that mistake defriend them immediately citing some new Facebook rule regarding the Timeline and relatives. No one really reads the Facebook fine print or keeps up with Facebook's daily "Big Brother" updates. 

·      For several years in a row, bellyache that you have been audited by the IRS, again …..and again.  You can’t be fiscally responsible even if the IRS thinks you can’t even add.

·      Be a horrible student.  Show your parents/relatives that if you can’t hack third grade math how are you going to figure out taxes or probate court.

·      Agree with your parents/relatives that a particular sibling or cousin is a “genius. ‘ This takes years of planning but it would be worth it in the end. Mention that they went to MIT and you a lowly inner-city university that sounded like a state school. Talk about that particular sibling and his or her accomplishments like they are gods.  Photoshop baby pictures of that person reading Beowulf at  age three, doing calculus at four and winning a Pulitzer at age six.  Always bring it up in conversation regardless of topic.

Of course, none of this worked for me……Now how do I file an extension?

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