Advice for Parents In Debt?

I am looking for advice on beneficial ways I can help my parents through their current financial crisis.
In brief: My mom has assets from a prior marriage that are sheltered
in trusts, etc, in her name. My dad has significant credit card debt that is accruing thousands per month in interest charges. Some of this debt is due to his business, which is cyclical, and some I am sure has arisen to support various indulgences for himself and my mother. My dad has real estate he can sell to cover this debt but one property has sentimental value that he seems to have trouble parting with and the other is jointly owned. He has no other assets or retirement accounts. My mother will provide him no assistance from "her money." My dad becomes very upset if anyone in the family tries to talk to him about his financial problems.
Both parents are in their 60's and I believe the main problem they are both not dealing with is the transition from employment to retirement, including the financial changes that requires.
If everyone in the family stands back and lets the current situation continue as-is, it is likely my dad will have to file for bankruptcy within a year or two. The situation right now is fixable if both my mom and dad work together to scrimp and save and my mom bails him out a little with "her money." My mom is not willing to touch "her money" but still expects my dad to provide income for her to live on.
I don't think it is appropriate to bail out my parents when they have the resources to fix this problem on their own. I would be willing to pay for an appointment for my dad with a fee-only financial planner but I am not sure if this is a good idea or would just make things worse.
Anyone been here before? Thanks!
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Apply the old adage, "Be able to accept that which you cannot control." It is highly likely they are going to dig themselves into welfare. Unless they ask for help, there is little you can do other than make suggestions, expect them to be ignored, and not give or loan them any money whatsoever.
Be strong as they destroy themselves. Do not in-turn self-destruct when there is virtually nothing you can do anyway. A drink once a week; fresh air; sports; frugal vacations; whatever it takes to preserve your own happiness as their lives enter the sewer. At some point when your kids can grasp what happened, use your parents as a lesson.
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On Tue, 7 Apr 2009 18:21:45 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

IMO Elle's comments are insightful, and remind me that most financial problems are not caused solely by poor financial activities. At the root the most "financial problems" is a personal problem (relationships, judgment, discipline, etc.) - poor financials are simply how the problem shows itself.
To be effective, discovering and dealing with the real problem should be the starting point. (Anybody ever noticed how someone gets out of debt, only to be back in debt after some time has elapsed?)
-HW "Skip" Weldon Columbia, SC
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In article

I think all you can do is stand back and let it happen. They have marriage problems, and are not fully committed to each other. The money issues are just a small part of the larger issues in their lives. If your dad isn't willing to think with his head on the property and sell it, then he will probably go bankrupt. If you get involved, you may not be able to stop that, yet you will end up getting blamed for it. Like another poster said, don't get involved in things that you cannot fix.
-john-
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John A. Weeks III 612-720-2854 snipped-for-privacy@johnweeks.com
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If your mother has money in trusts, she may not be able to take money from trusts help her ex husband, even if she wanted to, no?
i
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wrote:

I knew a guy who ran a financial advisory service. He had a full time psychologist on staff. Your situation is mostly a family issue, with financial management thrown in. You can't just deal with the finance separately from the relationship issue. As others have said, stay away unless they come to you first. As in AA, the first step is the acknowledgement of the existence of a problem. Before that you can't do anything about it.
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