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Failing to Plan - A Sad Story

An elderly couple was found dead on August 7, 2019. It was murder suicide where the husband Patrick Jones, 77 years of age, fatally shot his wife Patricia Jones, age 76, and then he comitted suicide. The reason was found in a note he left behind explaining that his wife had “severe ongoing medical problems” and yet the couple “did not have sufficient financial resources to pay for medical care.”

As an attorney, I often see the difference planning makes. All too often we see families and individuals facing difficult times. Medical bills are just the beginning. There are also long term care costs that can run $10,000 per month. By retaining the services of a qualified financial planner early, families can put themselves on firm footing to manage rough patches like medical bills. There are legal structures you can use to preserve family assets.

Be proactive. When planning, there are options you are likely not aware of. Find competent people you trust. Also educate yourself. This may mean going to workshops where you can ask questions. Meeting with a financial planner and having uncomfortable conversations.

Perhaps most important of all, don’t lose perspective. Patrick is an extreme example of a common situation - stress over finances. There are always solutions. Like the local sheriff said in Patrick’s case, “Help is always available with a call to 911.” But if you can, avoid the emergencies, get the help of qualified professionals and plan ahead.

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