Are your folks dealing with more house than they want or need? Perhaps they could use some of the cash tied up in home equity to do a little traveling? If yes, then maybe it is time to help them through the process of downsizing.
This was the subject of a recent article in the Chicago Tribune article titled “Don't want to burden your children? Plan now.”
The author of the article has recently been there and done that with his own parents.
Here is the setting:
His parents are in their early 60s and they moved from their old five-bedroom home to a two-bedroom house.
In contrast, the new place is smaller, newly renovated, has new mechanicals and a smaller lawn to maintain.
Added bonus? The new home is in a more walkable neighborhood with friends and family nearby.
Downsizing is emotionally and logistically difficult, so consider making the move while you are young, healthy retirees.
Times have changed.
In more traditional times, older folks would be cared for until the end of their lives by children and extended family.
Nowadays baby boomers are finding themselves in the middle of a so-called "triple-decker sandwich."
They are simultaneously facing their own retirement and caring for their aging parents ... let alone managing relationships with their own children.
Things can get complicated.
As I have noted in previous blog posts, the number of Americans needing long-term care is expected to double in the next 30 years, while a recent study of Medicare patients found that out-of-pocket costs at the end of life were highest for patients with dementia.
Folks with dementia require help with daily living, often for years and most of it is not covered by public programs.
Here are some pointers from the article, if you are feeling the pressure of being in the middle of the generational sandwich:
Are you in a large, expensive home in a car-dependent neighborhood? If yes, consider downsizing. This will limit your expenses while helping you maintain your independence longer. Proximity to family and friends is also very important. Even though 89% of respondents in the survey cited in the article said they wanted to stay in their current home, they still found the option of a smaller home to be much more preferable to a nursing home or assisted living.
Invest in long-term care insurance. If you want to be cared for in your home, find an insurance policy that covers that type of care as part of your retirement planning. The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper these policies are going to be. Period.
Talk to an estate planning attorney. An experienced estate planning attorney can sit down with the whole family, if you prefer the process to be a team effort. Look for an attorney with decades of experience when it comes to intergenerational wealth transfer, inheritance, and estate planning. This is not amateur hour.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify. Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: The Chicago Tribune (November 14, 2015) “Don't want to burden your children? Plan now”