Family duty and responsibility is a vital consideration when our parents get older and need help. Deciding what to do yourself, and what to “hire out” is a personal decision. Some things to ask yourself are:
- Do I have the knowledge and skills to provide the personal and/or financial care my parents need?
- Do I live close enough to be able to fulfill those needs?
- What impact, positive or negative, will being a caregiver have on me, as well as on my own spouse and children?
When I was a teenager, my father decided to expand the size of our home. He was a skilled handyman, but had never undertaken a project of this size before. He did three things that left a lasting impression on me:
- He hired his buddy, a retired general contractor, as a consultant. The friend never did a lick of “real” work on the expansion, but gave Dad counsel and advice.
- He did everything he knew how to do, and did some things that were new to him (after reading books and getting counsel from his consultant friend).
- He hired out the stucco work and the taping and texturing of the sheetrock. His reason for doing this was simple: this was likely going to be the one and only time in his life he ever did stucco and sheetrock finishing work. Sure, he could learn to do it, and likely do a passable job. However, after putting all that work into the expansion, did he really want his learning curve on display for every person who drove down the street or walked through the house? No. So he opted to out-source that finish work. He still considered the project “his,” even though he enlisted outside resources.
In the same way, it is the right move to hire a private professional fiduciary to do work you don’t know how to do, don’t have the time to do, or can’t do well enough.