Getting old is not pretty

Last weekend I visited my aunt in hospital. She has been diagnosed with cancer and given weeks to live, so she is very focused on tying up loose ends. She’s very accepting of her lack of future, but is struggling mightily with financial concerns. 

Money has been a lifelong obsession: she has never, to my mind, been able to adjust her lifestyle to her means but I suspect that’s only the visible tip of a large iceberg of not understanding money and making decisions based on fear. 

Now she finds herself at the very end of her life requesting help getting a lawyer to sort out some property issues that have been a problem for 25 years. 

I’ve done what I can,  arranged a lawyer to visit her in hospital, and I’ve fielded several calls from her in a state about some aspect of money. I’m doing this mainly because I’m close to my cousin and this is a practical way to support her through all this stress. 

But I am gobsmacked that it has come down this close to the wire. I cannot understand how she could leave this to the end of her life to sort out when she’s had years to address it and get things in order. For her own peace of mind, I’d think she would have resolved all these issues years ago. I can’t believe she doesn’t even have a regular lawyer who knows her situation. 

It reinforces for me how important it is as a single person with no dependents to sort my own shit out. When there’s only you, you have to get a grip on your finances, your assets, your legal rights and responsibilities, if only for peace of mind. Believing it’ll all resolve itself without active management and decision making is naive at best and irresponsible at worst.