Enjoying A Dying Parent's Last Days

Emily's mother was diagnosed with ALS a year ago and wants to do things with Emily that are out of Emily's price range. Dave thinks Emily has a delicate predicament here.

QUESTION: Emily in Minnesota wants to know how to financially deal with a dying parent. Her mother was diagnosed with ALS a year ago and wants to do things with Emily that are out of her price range. Last summer, they took a trip to Norway, and her mother paid half. Dave thinks Emily has a delicate predicament here.

ANSWER: What you’re facing is very sad. You want to spend those few precious moments that you’ve got doing anything that you can, but you can’t bankrupt your family either. A trip to Norway on what you’re describing as your household is really out of bounds. It’s extremely expensive for you even though she paid half. Just explain that you can’t do the expensive trips, but you’ll do anything to spend time with her and do some other things that you can afford. As much as you love her and want to help her with her bucket list, you can’t bankrupt your household. You have to balance your love for her and the horrible situation that you’re in with the good of your household. Then you’ve just got to pick and choose your battles. You have to make reasonable calls and do what you can do. Would I stretch myself to do some of these things? Yes, I would stretch myself. Sure. Stretching is different than breaking.

If she’s leaving you life insurance, you could put it back into your funds, yes. Going into debt and paying it off with debt later? No. That’s going too far.

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