If you are raising children while also caring for your aging parents, you may have heard yourself referred to as “The Sandwich Generation.” If you do not know the term, you may recognize where it comes from: the feeling of being squeezed by emotional, physical and financial pressure from both sides. You must develop financial and legal plans to protect your children, your parents and yourself.
You are far from alone in this generational sandwich. The Pew Research Center reports that nearly half of all adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent aged 65 or older while raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (over age 18). One in seven middle-aged adults is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child. About 27 percent of adults are the primary support for a child over age 18, while about 21 percent are supporting a parent over age 65.
Each generation requires a different set of strategies to protect their financial interests. This can also protect your own personal interests – and not to mention, it will relieve some of the stress you may feel worrying about their needs.
Protecting Your Aging Parents’ Legacy
Caring for the person who once cared for you can be a troublesome circumstance; you are suddenly making decisions for and about the person who once controlled your life. They are also complicated issues, often involving legal matters. Still, you must face them for your parents’ good and your own.
Medicaid Planning: What do you do for Mom when she needs skilled nursing and can no longer live alone or with you? Private nursing homes cost an average of almost $10,000 a month. However, you do not have to choose between depleting her life savings – or yours – and giving her inadequate care at home. Our highly qualified estate planning attorneys can provide you with legal options on how Mom may qualify for Florida Medicaid to help cover the costs of an assisted living facility or a nursing home.
Guardianship: When your parents get too sick to make their own financial decisions, it may be time for you to step in. But how? An estate planning attorney can handle the arrangements needed to put you in charge and ensure both you and your parents are protected.
Probate: When a loved one passes away, the Court system often must get involved to determine how assets will be divided amongst the surviving family members. The legal system is already frustrating and intimidating if you are not familiar with it. In fact, the probate process can be downright ugly. Giving the task over to an experienced attorney, and a real estate agent if real property is involved, will take the burden off you and allow you to focus on healing.
Protecting Your Children’s Future
In honor of National Daughters Day on September 25 and National Sons Day on September 28, September is a good month to review certain legal strategies that will help your children in the day to day, as well as their future.
Selecting a Guardian: It could be the most important decision you ever make. What will happen to your children if you (and the other parent) die while your children are still minors (under 18 years of age in Florida)? Where will they live, and with whom? Who will decide on their school, their activities, and pay for all this? Do not rely on your relatives’ promises, even if you get them in writing. For your for wishes to be carried out, you need to have proper legal documents that comply with Florida Law. Having the right legal documents and having them prepared right will ensure your wishes are carried out exactly as you have instructed.
Estate Planning: Organizing your assets now – homes, cars, investments, bank accounts and more – is the first step in making sure your children are provided for the way you wish after you are gone. This includes protecting your assets from bad influences in their life (such as possible spendthrift spouses or your kids’ future divorces).
Special Needs Trusts: If any of your children have special needs, then setting up a Trust is ESSENTIAL, so they do not lose their government benefits when getting their inheritance. This is often accomplished through a Special Needs Trust, which allows funds to be set aside to care for a special needs child while preserving crucial government benefits like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income that they currently receive or may receive in the future. These types of Trusts come to life upon the parents’ death and are much more effective than simply leaving behind a lump sum of money. You can decide who will manage these assets by naming one or more successor Trustees to manage the Trust for the benefit of your special needs child.
Seeking expert help for your children’s future and your parents’ legacy will not only give you peace of mind today but will take some of the burden off your children as they join their own sandwich generation.
Are you part of the sandwich generation? Meet us in the middle and we’ll help you create a plan to care for the generations ahead of you and behind you. Contact OC Estate & Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or email@example.com and get started with a free phone consultation. Our attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish, and Russian.