Have you ever had to make financial decisions for your parents?
I will never forget when my sister and I became the financial decision makers for ours. It was a Friday. I was in college and on a visit with a friend to see her family. My sister was six months out of law school and headed home from work after a long day at a major firm in the city.
Then, I got the call.
“Kristin, your dad had a massive heart attack. You need to get here now.” Hearing those words made my own heart stop for a minute. What unfolded next would shape my life forever.
But first… the happy ending: My father survived his heart attack and the heart transplant that followed. That was 16 years ago. Between then and now we have celebrated life. We got to dance at my wedding. He walked me down the aisle. He is “Pop” to my children.
Now, for the not so happy part: Immediately after his heart attack, the doctors put him into a coma to allow his body to recover. This meant that he needed someone immediately to handle his decision making. Everything from paying bills to making medical decisions… we even had to update his power of attorney so my sister could officially make decisions for him. It was a nightmare and it went on for months.
We were young, inexperienced. We just wanted to be sad about our dad. In life, though, sometimes we are called to do more than we think we can handle. In that moment, we had to step up. That is just what we did. It was not without hiccups and some were very large. But in the end, we were able to honor my father’s wishes and I think the peace-of-mind that gave him allowed him to focus on recovery.
Talking to your parents about their finances can be tricky. However, helping your parents live out their future the way they want is the greatest gift you can give them. Click here to read our new white paper called talking to your parents about their finances for tips on helping your parent at any stage.
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