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Lessons From A Cop Ride-Along On A Night Beat

Image of police ride along estate planning elder abuse Atlanta asset protection aging parents adult caregiver  on estate management asset protection law site

What An Estate Planning Attorney Can Learn From The Night Beat

Okay, I bet you’re wondering what an estate and asset protection attorney could learn from riding along with a cop on his night beat in one of the less desirable neighborhoods in Atlanta. You may also be wondering why and how I came to be riding along with a cop.

How I Got To Go On A Ride-Along

Here’s how that happened. I am a member of Leadership Atlanta. My desire is to know more about Atlanta in order to be able to contribute better to the community. I was given the opportunity to select something that would help me better understand our area. I used to want to be a cop and thought I would gain greater insight into how I might better serve doing a ride-along with a beat cop in a part of the city where I do not spend time. I had no idea that I would learn things that would apply to my practice. And what a surprise it always is to garner lessons in such an unexpected way.

A Painful Lesson

One of the most painful lessons that was reinforced on this ride-along is that many adult children can be very dangerous and disrespectful to their aging parents. I work with families all the time and see a variety of family dynamics that range from harmony to unhealthy discord. This ride-along showed me levels of discord I’d never before witnessed.

This made me realize that the thing that rarely changes between children and their parents is perception of roles. For instance, most children maintain the perception that their parents are the same as when the children were 10-years old. And parents always perceive their children as children who are generally hard-pressed to handle their own lives and affairs.

Children Are Never In The Position Of Parenting Their Parent

This ride-along made me realize that a phrase we so often hear that states that children become the parent of their parents is incorrect. Parents are always parents and children are always the children of their parents. I have begun to realize that a more accurate perception is that the adult children who take responsibility for their parent’s well-being in old age become their parents managers or CEO’s. But never do they become the parent of their parents.

Never Too Old Or Too Young

Regardless of status, station or wealth, the parent/child relationship can be volatile. What I know more deeply than ever is the importance of getting paperwork drawn up sooner rather than later. Making one’s wishes known and legally enforceable before one is unable to do so is imperative. We are never too old or too young to draw up legal paperwork that defines our wishes.

Along with drawing up legal paperwork a change in perspective about the relationship you have with your aging parents is a great idea. Anything you can do to help with this perspective, from reading books, talking to friends who have gone through the journey with their parents, taking a course could be helpful.

I am currently writing a book on the topic that I hope will be helpful in changing perspectives and making this journey for our beloved parents as harmonious as possible. And perhaps the next generation of caretakers will have an example that will inspire them to do the job even better.