By Julianna Malis, Attorney at Law
July is Sandwich Generation month. If you're wondering what the Sandwich Generation is, the average age of parents raising children in the US has continued to rise, leaving many middle-aged Americans in a category commonly referred to as the the “sandwich” generation: often still raising kids at home when they become responsible for the care of their own aging parents.
The stress and financial strain of managing the affairs of both children and parents can become overwhelming. The following tips can help make this challenging life stage manageable and more enjoyable.
ASSESS THE FINANCIAL SITUATION
Taking time to thoroughly understand the financial picture for your own household is imperative as you step into a role of responsibility for your aging parent. Prepare for the inevitable and avoid surprises by working with a professional to consider how your role in the care of your parent will affect the plans you are making for your family's financial future. Take advantage of our Family Strategy Session process, a comprehensive planning process that ensures your legal, financial and insurance needs are covered appropriately.
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying that, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Planning for your family's future means preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. As you move through helping your aging parent with important Estate Planning decisions, take time to be sure your own wishes are legally binding as well.
Be sure to include:
- Advance Healthcare Directive – appoints a person to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so and expresses your wishes for end of life decisions
- Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs – designates a person to make financial decisions if you are unable to do so
- Revocable Trust – if you own real property or other assets without transfer on death designations and want your financial affairs to be kept private upon your death, a revocable living trust will help you avoid probate if properly funded
- Will – carries out your wishes in the event of your death
- Kids Protection Plan – designates a legal guardian for your minor children in the event of you are incapacitated or deceased
PAY ATTENTION TO RED FLAGS
Even if your aging parent is still quite capable, work together to assess their financial situation carefully and be on the lookout for signs that anything is falling through the cracks. Common red flags are:
- Frequent calls from creditors
- Forgetfulness when it comes to bills and deadlines
- Unopened mail
- Obtain professional legal and financial support when necessary and communicate clearly so everyone knows who is responsible for what.
PRACTICE GOOD SELF CARE
Stress is one of the most common consequences of caring for two generations at once. Balancing the responsibilities of raising children and caring for aging parents with relaxation and play is vital over the long-haul. Remember that adequate rest and good nutrition will provide you with the extra energy you'll need when times get tough. Most importantly, remember that you don't have to do it alone! As your Life Care Planning Attorney, we are ready to assist you when duty calls.
Now is the perfect time to schedule a Family Strategy Session, where we'll review your current financial situation in light of your future responsibilities. With our assistance, you'll gain the confidence of knowing you're making the most empowered, informed and educated legal and financial decisions for yourself and the ones you love.
As a life care planning firm, we will help you make the very best financial and legal decisions throughout your life, and for the beyond. Estate planning can give your young family the peace of mind, confidence, and security you desire when it comes to the future well being of all members of your family. To schedule your complimentary Family Strategy Session, call our office at (805) 946-1550.
To your family's health, wealth and happiness!