Category Archives: Panama Journal

What Happens When Expats Die in Panama Without Heirs

A question came up on Boquete Ning, that may be of interest to others. The question follows:

I’m just wondering…( and please don’t take this wrong)
Much of the  expat community in Boquete as well as in other places in Panama are 60, 70 and some 80 years of age. What will happen 15-20 years from now? Do the elderly move back to their native USA, Canada or Europe? What happens when an elderly expat dies in Panama has no heirs and owns personal property? I know in the USA a public administrator does their diligence to locate next of kin and distributes assets. What about in Panama for expats?

I will give you my experiences from the U.S. Expat side, having dealt with a few cases for the U.S. Embassy as the David Warden.

First is the question of with more age, do the expats return to their home country. That is, as you would expect, and individual decision. A lot depends on whether they have family in the U.S. I have known several who started having health problems and their family convinced them to return.

It also depends on the individuals financial condition. Assisted living in the U.S. can run from $3,000 (if you are lucky) and up and many living on social security can’t manage that expense on their earnings. If they can’t live with their family, then they may be forced to fend for themselves in Panama.

I have been involved with several that were in their upper 80’s that had decided to live out their life here and did.

Now to the question of what happens to a deceased’s assets, owned in Panama, if there are no heirs. Again, it depends on what planning has been done by the individual. Continue reading What Happens When Expats Die in Panama Without Heirs

Continuing The Three P Program

I mentioned last week that I had started a new exercise program. I have since named it the Three P Program.

I have it scheduled for 6 days a week. Sunday is a free day.

My alarm goes off at 7:00 AM. I am usually awake by 6 and relax, meditate, and listen to the birds serenading in the trees. Sometimes I hear a rooster off in the distance.

When the alarm goes off, it is time to begin the Three Ps. It is always good to keep things orderly and on schedule. That way my day goes well. First I need to go pee, next poop, and then head for the pool.

At my age, it is extremely important that I don’t get them out of order. Sometimes it turns into the 4 P program, because it may require some Patience waiting on the first two Ps.

The temperature of the pool was around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Seemed much cooler when I entered it. Great way to start the morning. There was a slight breeze when we started and it has continued to increase since then. It is now blowing pretty hard.

This morning, after the 3Ps were completed, I checked my email. The Internet was down. I checked the phone and it was down too. I knew that the TV was working because Lilliam had it playing on the terrace to listen to the news while we were in the pool.

I decided to give it an hour before calling Cable Onda. Luckily, the outage was only about a half an hour. Of course I have no idea how long it was down before I had checked my mail.

Yesterday, Lilliam asked me which day we were going to the fair. Now that was a surprise. I had about decided that I might pass it up this year. She said she wanted to go later in the day this year. It was unbearably hot the last time we went.

It will be interesting to see if we make it. I did pull out my camera and checked the battery charge. I try to always be ready whenever she says lets do it.

Well, I am off to start the rest of my day. I hope you have a great day and take a little opportunity to smell the flowers.

Missing Dog – Congo

UPDATE: As of March 15, Congo is still missing and suspected stolen for sale. He is possibly in David or other nearby areas. Original post was January 27, 2015.

I received a request to post the following:

Dear Ray,

Thank you for including Congo in your chatter

he is a rescue (mix labrador) from the island of St. Maarten and came with us to Boquete november 2013.
Very friendly with people and dogs

on Thursday Jan 15th, some tourists, staying with neighbors inside our gated community, let him out of the gate without any authorization
or feedback to us and did not bother with him anymore and left Congo for himself out on the street. He had never been outside the gate and
around downtown boquete so all area’s are strange to him.
He was wearing a yellow (faded) collar with his name and my home phone number written with a marker on it.

Handing out flyers and posting posters have been futile for now. There has not been one sighting around boquete area of Congo in these last 10 days.

It has come to my attention 5 days ago that a young couple found him that Thursday nite at the feria, bought themselves a leash and took him with them
to David.
Trying to put a puzzle together with names and phone numbers also has not brought Congo back home yet.
Of course al this is hear say but i trust the source to be reliable.

Today i went around the major supermarkets in David to put up flyers,

If you can please ask the people in David and surroundings to keep on the look-out for Congo, i would appreciate that immensely.
On the poster there is a reward promised for the finder of Congo.

Thank you very much

Bernie Verhoeven
phone 65 03 03 44

Friday The Thirteenth

IMG_0476I just noticed that today is Friday the thirteenth. Had I known that when I got up, I might have had second thoughts about getting in the pool.

That being said, I did succeed in completing day two of my new exercise program. Lilliam called at 8:00 AM this morning and her first question was if i had been in the pool. I guess I passed the test.


Yesterday Natalie and I took supplies to Robert. He is still tolerating the feeding tube. We took him two brownies as a reward. Natalie ask him if he wanted to share one with the nurses and received a defiant “NO”.

Today, I have an appointment with the landlord of another U.S. vet, who was rushed to the Polyclinic last week for dehydration. He was released before I could take him a PAW to sign. Hopefully today, I can get it signed and sent to the Embassy.

This individual is looking for a nursing home and Hogar Santa Catalina may be a candidate.

I plan on doing as little as possible after getting the PAW. After all, today is Friday the thirteenth.

Day One of New Exercise Routine

For exercise, Lilliam and I had been walking a mile every evening. When she went to Costa Rica and now to Panama City, my motivation went with her.

However, I do realize at my age, exercise is still necessary, but with the current temperatures, I don’t want to go walking (either in the morning or the evening). It is cool enough in the morning, but the sun starts coming up and Lilliam and both need to stay out of the sun. The evening is still too warm for me to want to walk.

I am moving my exercise to Plan B.

I have set a schedule for 30 minutes in the pool at 7:15 every morning. The sun is just coming up and it is a perfect time. I have part of my pool under cover, so i can be out of the sun even if it is up. After a couple of weeks, I may add another 30 minutes in the evening.

The birds were singing in the trees this morning and the water felt good. I set my iPhone timer for 30 minutes and kept moving for the entire time.

I swam the length of the pool several times. I held onto the side of the pool and just kicked my legs for a period of time, and I spend the last 15 minutes running in place in neck deep water. All in all it was a good workout and probably better than the evening walks.

As long as I have it on my calendar, I will probably be able to keep up with it. I need a schedule or I tend to put things off. That is how I got my taxes done yesterday. It was on my calendar.

Taxes are Taxing

I hate this time of year. Filing taxes is always stressful for me, even thought my taxes are not all that complex. I use TaxAct (on the Internet) for federal taxes and compute state taxes using my own spreadsheet.

Living in Panama adds a little stress just because of needing 1099s from the US.

I usually get my 1099 hard copies a few weeks after I have submitted my tax filings. Luckily, the Internet allows me to get PDFs of the required 1099s as soon as the companies have them prepared. It just requires me making a few phone calls and sending a few emails.

The Internet has made it less stressful than in the past. Without the Internet it would be a nightmare in a foreign country.

This year was a little more complicated because of having to send our 1040 attached to Lilliam’s W7. Since there were no US tax experts available in Chiriquí, that I could find, I had to become my own W7 expert.

Filling out the W7 was not complicated, but did require submitting authenticated documents. Luckily the Embassy Outreach was timed right to prevent a trip to Panama City for authentication.

After this year, Lilliam will have her ITIN and it will be less of a hassle and I can e-file.

I should have all forms printed today with the exception of the W7. I will fill out the W7 when Lilliam returns to David next week. By the end of next week the submissions will be on their way to the states.

I always e-file my federal, but because of the W7, I will have to mail my forms this year. I plan on using DHL to send the W7 and 1040. I don’t want any time lost as I expect them to take some time to process the W7 prior to sending the 1040 to the IRS.

I also have to file a state tax and will just mail it in using certified mail at the post office. I have done that since moving to Panama in 2003 and have never had a tax return lost.

Another Day Almost Over

Electricity was out about an hour and a half this morning. Church had all windows open and it was pretty breezy.

Wind is still blowing a gale in David.

I am ready for the rainy season to get rid of this heat. I guess we still have a little over a month to go until it starts raining.

Internet decided to slow down tonight. Hope it is a fluke and tomorrow will be better.