A loss, and a windfall for military kin

The inheritance process is naturally filled with mixed emotions.  Even if there is no litigation, there is still the reality that the money passed because of the death of someone you (presumably) cared for and who cared enough to remember you in their will.  And there is the responsibility of handling a potentially large sum of money. Magnify those emotions and responsibilities many fold if you are the young widow of a soldier killed in Iraq.  This excellent article from the New York Times explores that heart wrenching circumstance: Military Kin Struggle with Loss and a Windfall Not surprisingly, a young widow whose bank account jumps from $500 to hundred of thousands overnight is susceptible to the influence of others, as well as her own irresponsibility. This excerpt illustrates an unfortunate outcome:

“I do know that there have been widows who used all the money by paying cash for a house and paying cash for a car,” she said. “If they pay cash for a McMansion, they may not think about all the incidentals like heat and water and phone and cable and taxes and furniture.”

One widowed acquaintance, whom Ms. Avery declined to identify to protect her privacy, ended up applying to the Army for an emergency relief loan after blowing through the $500,000. “You have to have nothing — like the electricity has to be getting turned off” to qualify for such a loan, Ms. Avery said. “In grief, you’re in such a state of shock that you don’t take into account that you won’t have your husband’s salary in six months.”