One of the most difficult, sensitive, heartbreaking challenges I face is when a client begins to lose mental acuity. Whether this loss is a result of dementia, another medical condition, or just a normal consequence of aging, the effect poses special challenges for them, their family and us. Another more difficult conversation is to sit and discuss their wishes in the event they suffer a health or memory related difficulty. In cases where they would benefit from another person being part of the financial planning process, we discuss who to contact and what steps will need to be put into place. The purpose of this conversation is not to provide these designated people with access to confidential financial information, but rather to give them assistance they need to fulfill the client’s wishes in a caring and well planned manner.
My most recent experience with a client suffering a loss of mental acuity involved an elderly client approaching me to let me know it was time to involve his designated family member in the process. While it has been difficult watching a long time client and friend go through this, we were prepared and had an action plan to set in motion that was already mapped out. By taking the time to have this conversation ahead of time I was able to help him plan for and navigate what was already a difficult situation, as well as fulfill a part of what is my long-term commitment to all of my clients. “Clarity and Confidence for Life” it’s not just a tag line. While it is my pleasure to see my clients achieve their goals, it is my privilege and awesome responsibility to be entrusted with many of the details of their financial lives.
Any opinions are those of Thomas Fleishel and not necessarily those of Raymond James.