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Letters from the Precipice: caring for children

In between finding my son’s track shoes and getting his lunch packed up last night, this letter came in. It reminded me just how crazy-making it is try to to make sense of things that sometimes don’t make any sense. Secondly, young and single people need to take care of this stuff, too.

Mostly, so many of us have such similar stories – I hope folks from a safe distance away, or those toeing the edge, can feel a bit less scared when it’s our turn to look over the cliff.


Chanel, I sent out a reminder to everyone when I read your article a few months ago, not sure if my adult daughter ever took heed though we had discussed these situations and need for planning. She is currently in an induced coma after suffering a devastating brain aneurysm bleed 8 days ago. Have been looking in her home but have not found any evidence of Will, Living will or POA papers though she has been my POA and has the paperwork (somewhere ) to support it.

How do I pay her bills? I have with the help of her job, called about starting her disability payments, so will have an income for a while. FMLA papers are at DRs to be signed. She is single, has a home with mortgage and utilities due. And if she dies, which is always a possibility, how do I handle that if no will is found? I know that I am beneficiary or her life insurance at work.

She has a roommate, super good friend, like a sister to her, that shares her home and pays some bills, but cannot manage to pay everything, also car payments.

I need some guidance quickly to see what I can do to make this horrible situation easier on all of us.

Thanks for any help or clues in who I should talk to about this.

Joanne, I don’t even know what to say.

I am so so incredibly sorry. Try to take care of yourself in whatever way you can….breathe in and out, let yourself cave when you need to.

It sounds like her work has been helpful, so lean on them for as much as you can…And her friend/roommate can circle the wagons with her friends and community to help with stuff – ask for help! lots of help!

Get a notebook and just start jotting stuff down to help you keep track of questions, phone calls, what xx said about yy. My brain went crazy for a while and I could barely remember anything – opening a letter or paying a bill felt impossible.

Disability will help a LOT in the short term (so relieved that you have that in place) as it will buy you time and options, and your daughter better care. Life insurance can help cushion hard transitions should it ever come to that…but for now, this helps.

- Disability will help keep the mortgage paid and important stuff
- You can call the other accounts like phone or credit and explain the ‘hardship circumstances’ and they can often put you/her on a deferred payment for a while
- Also, before you pay off any of her debt, find out if you really are required to pay them, sometimes you don’t and they send bills anyway.

(I am not a lawyer) But learned that when someone dies without a will it is called ‘dying intestate’ and each state has it’s own rules and process – often the spouse will be named the executor of the will, if no spouse then usually the closest relative(s), like Parent(s). Even if probate is relatively straightforward, it is such an emotional and impossible feeling time, getting help navigating all that would be great, a friend who is savvy with that stuff can help and legal advice might be helpful or necessary.

I wish I could be of more help.
Lighting a candle for you and your daughter.

much love
you can do this
it wont always be like this


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