Dr. Glenn Mollette
You may create instability and insecurity for your personal life if you put others in charge of your decisions.
The idea of a child or acquaintance “shouldering” your life’s concerns and finances might feel comforting. Having someone else pay your bills and oversee your welfare might feel like a relief. For many it ends up being the end of freedom and security.
You love your children, or that special niece or grandchild. You are so bonded to them. You may feel that adding their name to your checking or other financial accounts will increase your bond and the ongoing warm fuzzy relationship. Be very aware.
An acquaintance wanted her daughter to have the family home so bad that she went ahead and did all the legal work to assign the house to her daughter. Her daughter’s name was added to all her savings and checking accounts. For the rest of her life this poor woman never had a life. From that point forward, her daughter made every decision about what “was” her mother’s money. She would even tear up any kind of credit or retail purchasing card that her mother tried to get with commentary such as, “You don’t need these.” The mother spent her remaining years hearing almost weekly from her daughter that she was going to “put her in a nursing home.”
Another acquaintance with a healthy savings account and beautiful house signed everything over to a nephew and gave him her power of attorney. He soon made the decision to put her in a nursing home telling her she would be better off. He now drives her car and spends out of her checking account. He has told her she will have to sell her house to cover the costs of her nursing home care.
Just recently, an elderly acquaintance said, “I have no cash. My son takes care of paying all my bills, groceries and more but I don’t have access to any money.”
There is always the possibility that any of us could become physically or mentally disabled. Make your legal arrangements for when and if that happens. Be wary about putting children or loved ones on your accounts now. Get with your attorney and draw up a document that says, “When, such disability happens or death happens then Mr. or Mrs. John Doe are to have “this” or “that.”
Of course, do what you want to do. Sometimes it works out. However, do you really need someone saying to you, “Now mom, now dad, do you really need to buy those shoes?” Or, “Do you really need to take that trip?” “Now mom, now dad do you really need to be shopping at the mall?” Hey friend, it’s your money. You and your spouse work it out and if you live alone you and God can work it out. It can be wise to seek financial counsel from a professional. However, you can do this without giving up your personal freedom.
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