But, if you think that maybe the expression "paperwork" is not long for this world, think again. As the last several weeks have reminded me, death and home buying require mounds of paper. The wonderful world of computer-based information retrieval and processing remains somewhere in our future.
Since my father passed away in early March I have had to:
- Fill out stacks of papers at the mortuary
- Apply for more than a dozen copies of the official death certificate
- Sign forms when his death certificates were finally ready to be picked up
- Fill out a form and provide a copy of the death certificate to Social Security
- Sign more forms and provide a copy of the death certificate to close out his checking account.
- Fill out a form and provide a death certificate to the Veteran's Administration.
- Sign dozens and dozens of papers and provide a stack of death certificates to begin to deal with his trust and investments.
- Alert the Post office about a change of address
Since we decided to sell our present house and buy another we have had to:
- Sign and initial a 13 pages selling contract
- Full out a 12 page detailed report on all known problems with the property
- Prepare a counter-offer form.
- Sign a counter to the counter offer
- Sign multiple forms for the Title company
- Agree to have a lock box put on the property
- Initial and sign a multi-page offer to buy contract
- Fill out and sign another dozen forms from the Title company for the purchase
- Sign paperwork to order a home inspection on the new home
- Sign agreements for service termination and service start up.
- Complete at least 8 on-line change of address forms (on line!)
My dad's situation will require at least another 60 days to wrap up and then file an estate and personal tax return next year. The house sale and purchase will require several more hours of paperwork signing on closing days, plus anything the various utilities and divers license people throw at me.
America still runs on paper and ink. No matter how powerful the Internet may be, our trees remain in danger: we use a lot of paper.