Retirement Guys: Helping seriously ill adult childrenWritten by Nolan Baker Mark Clair | | firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we worked with Beth White, MSN, RN and local author on a follow up to her recent book with Patricia Ringos Beach, MSN, RN, AOCN, ACHPN.
In life, we expect that one day we will help our aging parents and grandparents. Yet, life doesn’t always play out the way we expect. Their book, “In The Shadows: How to Help Your Seriously Ill Adult Child,” they discuss over 10 chapters the often unexplored territory that parents find themselves in when an adult child has a health care crisis. The book was awarded first place in the 2013 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards in Consumer Health category.
I, Nolan, as a financial professional for the last 20 years have helped out many families that have dealt and are dealing with seriously ill adult children. Sometimes, I have just been there to listen. Other times, I have shared my own personal experience. And often, I have put my, Mark Clair’s and our network of professional’s knowledge to work in providing a financial and legal plan of action.
The first thing I would say financially is slow down. Most financial situations that come up may seem like they require immediate action, but often decisions don’t need to be made overnight. If a parent is asked for financial help, the adult child can create a sense of panic for the family. This may be the first time the child has come to the parent to ask for help and it is at what seems like the financial need is imminent or a disaster will occur. Take a breather, and do your homework.
If the need is immediate — a foreclosure on the house or to hire a specialist such as in a situation of a mental health disorder — a parent might want to jump right in financially to help out. I as a parent would do this for my children. But as a financial professional, I would caution a parent to do what they can to help out with what they can afford without putting themselves into financial turmoil as well. Establish boundaries and let the adult child know you may not be able to help in the future. Two families in financial turmoil can be worse. If the mortgage payments need made, catch up the payments and cover the next three to six months. That doesn’t mean completely pay off the mortgage.
Investing money financially should be done as a gift not a loan. I have heard people say,”‘Well, they will pay me back when they get on their feet.” This often times may not be the case. Structuring loans with adult children can create two problems. One is they may not have the ability to actually pay the loan back. Remember they got to this point of needing the help because they had no other resources to turn to. Second, creating loans with adult children can actually hurt, not help the relationship. I once heard a person say how upset they were at Christmas with all the gifts under the tree the adults spent on their kids, when they hadn’t made their monthly payment to the parents. Give what you can afford with no expectation of ever getting the money back.
Know the rules and the laws. Mark Clair, an Ohio attorney, and the co-founder of The Retirement Guys, gives some great legal advice. Know the boundaries, find out the potential health care costs and plan for the long term. A health care power of attorney and an authorization to release medical information are two important forms. Navigating the cost of health care can be overwhelming, but doing nothing can create a huge mountain of debt. Take the lead for the adult child and help them avoid this pitfall by seeking professional advice and getting a plan in place. New bankruptcy laws are in place that makes it even harder for a married couple to just walk away from debt, even medical bills. Do long-term planning with legal documents for an adult child. One area you might want to discuss with a professional is the advantages of a trust.
“In The Shadows: How to Help Your Serious Ill Adult Child” is available online at Amazon. The chapters contain more discussions on the parent child relationship, the emotional roller coaster and other ideas on how to help. If you or a loved one is in this situation, we would encourage you to order a copy right away.
For more information about The Retirement Guys, tune in every Saturday at 1 p.m. on 1370 WSPD or visit HYPERLINK “http://www.retirementguysnetwork.com”www.retirementguysnetwork.com. Securities and Investment Advisory Services are offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc., Member FINRA / SIPC. NEXT Financial Group, Inc. does not provide tax or legal advice. The Retirement Guys are not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group. The office is at 1700 Woodlands Drive, Suite 100, Maumee, OH 43537. 419-842-0550
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