One of the sections in my new book, Your Room at the End: Thoughts About Aging We’d Rather Avoid, has to do with having someone else on your checking account in the event that you become ill or injured, or otherwise not capable of conducting financial transactions. I was in a bank yesterday and there was a gentleman at the far window attempting to perform some type of transaction for his mother. The initial conversation was low, but as the exchange escalated, the words were difficult to avoid. It appeared to be a case of his mother having an accident and being unable to come in, and his father, the only other person on the account, had Alzheimer’s. The situation did not get resolved to the gentleman’s satisfaction and he departed in what seemed to be angry frustration.
I totally understood, and I also understand that not everyone has a younger family member that should be on a checking account for emergencies. However, if you reach a certain age as a single individual, or one of a couple has become incapable of conducting financial transactions, then having a trusted individual who can write or cash checks for you is important. If you have no family or close friend you can trust, it may be time to see about finding an accountant and/or attorney that can perform those kinds of functions. That should also be approached with caution, yet as I stress in Your Room, making plans and arrangements before it is a crises situation enables you to do things like properly research an accountant and/or attorney. Plans and arrangements can be modified to reflect what is actually going on in your life as opposed to what you thought was going to happen. It is having no plan that adds more stress when already stressful events such as illness and injury occur.