Modern Families – Caring for our Aging Parents and Adult Children
As the holidays approach, many of us will be traveling to visit family we have not seen in awhile. This family may be our aging parents or our children who have started families of their own. For others, there will be family celebrations with those who we see everyday – because they live with us. More and more families find themselves in the latter category. A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights some of the challenges these individuals face. You can read that article by clicking here. If you are part of a combined family living under one roof consider some of the following documents to ensure you are able to manage more than the grocery list or laundry needs of your additional family residents:
Every adult in your household should have both financial and medical power of attorney in place. This may sound surprising for those parents with their 20 something child still living at home. However, they are adults in the eyes of the law and a power of attorney will simplify access for their parent-agents. For example, access to financial accounts or how medical decisions are made if your child becomes incapacitated.
Caregiver Agreement can provide a number of benefits to both the caregiver child and the care recipient parent. One, it fairly compensates the child for their time and energy used to care for their parent. Two, it can prevent inheritance disagreements between siblings who feel entitled to assets because of their efforts caring for mom or dad. Three, a caregiver agreement, if properly drafted, can protect the spend down of some family assets if a parent is looking to qualify for Medicaid.
These estate planning documents allow families to plan for future events. Often, the focus of this planning is to prevent burdens placed on our family. For aging parents who live with their children, a trust can allow a trusted family member to manage their day to day expenses and protect them from elder abuse scams. For children with special needs, a certain trust can be created to ensure that a child will qualify for any government benefits for which they qualify. Even a simple will provides significant value. It allows a parent to distribute assets in a manner that recognizes the services performed by the caregiver child.