It’s been three years since Harry lost his wife, Claire. His daughter, Susan, is concerned about his health. She said it’s not uncommon for him to open his first beer in the morning before lunch. He drinks constantly and he still drives and he’s living at home alone. Susan doesn’t think he ever got his Claire’s higher social security income or her pension survivor’s benefit and she’s having trouble getting her Dad onboard with looking into it. He’s just not motivated. He thinks he has enough for now so why bother. Susan knows he probably needs some extra help at home right now and will definitely need help in the near future. How is she supposed to help him pay for care if he’s not even getting the income ne needs right now? This is a story of someone who came to my office this week whose names have been changed.

The unmotivated parent is a situation that has come up more than once. How do we talk to our parents about money? Sometimes it’s about honoring the person we lost. I encouraged Susan to mention that it was important to look into Dad’s income because Claire would have wanted Harry to have this money – to live a good live and not to just “get by”. What would Claire say if she found out that Harry had decided to have a “give up” attitude? Think about all the work she did to prepare the way for him after she was gone and he’s just throwing it all away. By looking into the income and making sure he was receiving what Claire wanted him to receive, Harry would be honoring Claire’s memory. Susan thought this approach might work with her dad. At Wilson Legal, we help kids talk to parents about money in a supportive way.

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