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My best friend is dying
Old 10-05-2016, 10:27 AM   #1
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My best friend is dying

He has pancreatic cancer. For the last year he has been under Dr. care, trying to balance between quality of life and fighting the cancer with chemo. He is going to start radiation soon for spots on his spine.

Absent a miracle, it's not going to end well. 3 months? 6 months? I don't know.

He retired 2 years ago, is divorced and his son over 21 son lives with him. He is renting his house. He was a teacher, and has some money but probably far less than half a million. Minimal SS, and a teachers pension. Not sure if he took a lump sum, or receives monthly payments.

He has told us he is concerned about his son just blowing through the money. He also has a brother that has been a musician all his life and has always had money struggles. They live 1400 miles apart, but talk regularly and visit occasionally.

I also believe he has recently set up a trust, but I don't know any details. We are visiting him now, and it's going to be a topic this weekend.

At some point in his illness, he is going to be unable to take care of himself. Another topic we will discuss.

DW and I have discussed this endlessly, and we want to help. Not as caretakers, but spending his money as he would want. Paying his bills, arranging his nursing care, that type of quality of life thing. Hold onto his nest egg until his son matures, or sending his son regular withdrawals. However he want's it done, we will adhere to it exactly.

We are nomads, and travel year round. It's no sacrifice to spend some time around where he lives for a period of time. It's the Denver area, if that would make a difference. We are not winter people, so I hope he has time.

Any advice? Is this a bad idea?
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:51 AM   #2
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My sympathies to you, and to your friend.
My advice would be to get him to an estate lawyer, and have everything spelled out exactly, to protect you from unhappy relatives/heirs, etc.

I'm sure if your friend is well enough to spell out exactly what he wants, while alive, and what he wants after he passes, to try to get his estate where he wants it, and in a manner that protects his son from bad decision making, this can be done.

God Bless you for being there to help your friend.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:54 AM   #3
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First, I'm sorry that your friend is going through this and that you're losing your friend. I think it is kind of you to help with the financial and care arrangements for him, but I'd be wary about being involved on an ongoing basis with his money and any inheritance to the son.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:01 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear this.

You could look into becoming POA, both financial and health. That could be quite a responsibility, and depending on that relationship with family, it could be tricky, possibly even turn ugly. But if they tend to be clueless with money, and brother is not in the area, it could also be seen as a wonderful thing for you to do.

Maybe the trust was a 'spendthrift' trust for the son? Typically, a bank administers those, and only the income is distributed, and any specific expenses for things like medical or education come from principal, at the trustees discretion. I think that would be better than injecting yourself between the son and any inheritance. Maybe you could be trustee - that would eliminate the bank fees (probably 1% per year), and you have the trust directives to point to, rather than being in the direct line.

Quality of life is likely all that can really be managed here, but having someone in their corner can go a long way. Look into hospice care options - I've seen both wonderful hospice care organizations, and awful ones, and it probably varies by location. Don't automatically go with the default that the hospital recommends. We found a good one by asking the head nurse at the Assisted Living place my DM was at, she named one that she personally knew the local people to be very good.

Hoping for the best for you and your friend in a bad situation.

-ERD50
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:06 AM   #5
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Another quick word of advice - get his finances simplified if needed while he is still capable of dealing with this. My in-laws had so many individual bank accounts, several brokerage accounts, stocks in street name at two places, stock certificates, multiple IRA accounts. It was a lot of work and frustration to get this all consolidated. We chose Fidelity for this, even though I'm a Vanguard fan overall, the B&M Fidelity office near us made things much simpler, my MIL was able to go into the office with us, and we got lots of stuff done in just one visit. Dealing with online places means trying to get Medallion Signatures in some cases, not so easy, and then there are usually more delays along the way.

-ERD50
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:21 AM   #6
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Having been a court-appointed custodian on two separate occasions, I second ERD50's suggestion to get his finances simplified as soon as possible. Also, it sounds like some sort of trust that distributes whatever is left to his son over time in a methodical way would be called for so the son doesn't blow it all.

You are a good friend to be so concerned and help him out.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:23 AM   #7
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So sorry to hear about your friend....I guess we've all been there, (or will be there), in one way or another; for me, one of the things I found so overwhelming was the feeling of helplessness....knowing that there was nothing, nothing, within your power to gain even one more second of life for the dying person.

As to the monetary issues, I totally agree with getting a lawyer involved; I fear that, without things being handled legally while your friend is still capable, you might be making yourselves vulnerable to attack, and accusations of misappropriation.......people can get nasty when they believe that money they feel 'entitled' to is redirected...no matter where.

Good luck.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:47 AM   #8
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There is a non profit in the area called The Senior Resource Center that may have some programs to help your friend, from helping to write out bil pmts to respite care. I volunteer with them. You may pm me.
You are a good person
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Another quick word of advice - get his finances simplified if needed while he is still capable of dealing with this. My in-laws had so many individual bank accounts, several brokerage accounts, stocks in street name at two places, stock certificates, multiple IRA accounts. It was a lot of work and frustration to get this all consolidated. We chose Fidelity for this, even though I'm a Vanguard fan overall, the B&M Fidelity office near us made things much simpler, my MIL was able to go into the office with us, and we got lots of stuff done in just one visit. Dealing with online places means trying to get Medallion Signatures in some cases, not so easy, and then there are usually more delays along the way.

-ERD50
+ 1 I think this is brilliant advice.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:47 PM   #10
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My sympathies as well. From personal experience, I think it will be difficult for non-family members to do the things traditionally done by family members. I will be surprised if his family does not come to his aid in some fashion whether wanted or unwanted.
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Old 10-05-2016, 01:29 PM   #11
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I was really good friends with a couple and he was dying from cancer and she had Alzheimer's and he was her caretaker. We took care of both of them for awhile and then he made me POA for finances and medical for her. In Oct I had to put her in a home and his son took him in or he would have had to go to a nursing home. I also insisted that both his kids be on the checking account so in case I died someone could pay her bills. He died in Feb. It has been a fair amount of work-not financially but the medical side. I would do it again. Hugs)
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Old 10-05-2016, 01:39 PM   #12
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Sorry to hear and some good advice above. The only ting I can add from experience is to act quickly as the last person I knew with PC died exactly six month after being diagnosed. The last two month had virtually no quality of life.

Good luck and God bless you.
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Old 10-05-2016, 02:10 PM   #13
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My aunt had pancreatic cancer, and she lasted about 16 months. Problem is that most don't last that long, and the odds of beating it is extremely low. They end up just about starving to death. I'd say just make me comfortable and let me go--no treatments.

He should consider setting up a special needs trust. Most would have it setup for basic needs to be covered, like healthcare, car insurance, utilities to be paid by the trust. Assets like houses and even autos are owned by the trust. The big benefit of the trust is that the kid cannot go out and run up a bunch of debt because no creditors can touch the special needs trust.

It's tough having a child that's not trustworthy with money or when they have a total lack of common sense. My only daughter is like that.
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Old 10-05-2016, 03:59 PM   #14
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End of life situations are difficult and I can't add anything to what has already been said, but sorry to hear about your friend. He is certainly lucky to have a friend like you!
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:05 PM   #15
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I have nothing useful to add, but he is very fortunate to have you as a friend.
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:07 PM   #16
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He is certainly lucky to have a friend like you!
Indeed.

I second the advice to talk with an estate attorney, and soon. The attorney can create the strategies to have the estate go where and how your friend wants it to.
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:22 PM   #17
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Thanks for the kind words. I knew this was the place to look for direction.

We are in Denver now, going to move our RV to his house tomorrow for 3-4 days. He is still active. He just got back from driving his truck camper to Alaska and back. Alone.

I have a better idea what to talk to him about, and what to offer. Maybe he has it all under control.

Thanks.
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:42 PM   #18
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I've had a friend and an in-law both die from this. Both were very strong men and seemingly healthy until it hit. Both lasted about 8 months after being diagnosed. One took chemo, the other did not.

Both seemed to be able to "function" reasonably well until almost the end.

I know another fellow who was diagnosed more than 5 years ago. They found it early and it was operable. After surgery he's still going strong at this point.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:36 PM   #19
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.

Paying his bills, arranging his nursing care, that type of quality of life thing. Hold onto his nest egg until his son matures, or sending his son regular withdrawals. However he want's it done, we will adhere to it exactly.
Money and the trust worthy handling of it are often mutually exclusive. He is lucky to have a friend like you.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:15 AM   #20
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+1 on getting an estate attorney involved, and spelling out your authority and responsibilities explicitly. If it is something at all important to your friend, also get funeral plans down in writing as well. For both issues, financial and funerals, relatives may have ideas quite different from what he would want, and you will need legal protections in place to ensure your ability to carry out his wishes. Best wishes to you and your wife, and don't neglect to take care of yourselves emotionally during what will be a difficult time. Hope the three of you can have some fun as well in the near term, as for now at least he sounds like he will be able to. Hope he appreciates what good friends he has in the two of you.
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