My father passed away on November 17, 2018. He had been diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer in May of 2017 and the cancer had already spread to his bones. As a financial planner, I thought about my Mom from a different perspective than some.
- How would Mom’s income change when Dad passes?
- What assets did Mom have?
- Did any changes need to be made BEFORE Dad passed?
Yes, I thought about how my Mom would handle not being with her best friend of over 50 years. I thought about how our hearts would ache when we would no longer be able to see our Dad, husband, brother, grandfather, uncle, friend. Our hearts did ache as we watched cancer take away my father’s independence, strength and quality of life. I knew that I could not alter the universe and change my Dad’s diagnosis and fate. What I COULD do, is make sure my Mom was as financially prepared as possible, and that started years ago with the following:
- Analyzed Dad’s pension and made a decision on what survivorship option to choose
- Rolled over Mom and Dad’s 401Ks to IRAs and invested the funds based upon their risk tolerance and cash needs in retirement
- Made sure the beneficiaries were listed correctly and included contingent beneficiaries
- Analyzed their social security and helped them decide when to take it
- Reviewed their cash flow before Mom retired and showed Mom that she could afford to retire and enjoy the same lifestyle she had pre-retirement
- Reviewed their Medicare and private health insurance through Dad’s former employer
So, the financial questions I had when Dad was diagnosed, I had the answers to because I prepared and planned with my parents. I knew exactly what Mom’s income would be after Dad passed and what assets she would have. I did need to re-title a trust account BEFORE Dad’s death, so Mom would have quick access to the funds in the account if she needed them. Mom was going to be OK. Mom is going to be OK because we took the time to prepare long before my fathers’ illness.
I want everyone’s Mom and Dad to have a financial plan in place and a trusted advisor to guide them. Losing someone you love is inevitable.....being unprepared for the future does not have to be.