Elder law plays a vital role in estate planning. Outside of specific elements it addresses, it also focuses on taking care of people during retirement and making sure benefits need for late-in-life care are prepared. In our infographic, learn more about what elder law does and when you should get started.
There is a lot of uncertainty right now. So many things about life as we know it have changed in the last few weeks, and for many of us, we’re not quite sure we have caught up to all of it yet. “Going out to eat with friends” now means ordering takeout, driving to pick it up, and eating it in your car with your window rolled down, parked at least 6 feet away from your friend who is doing the same thing (no, I have not actually tried this yet, but people are definitely doing it right now). And “let’s schedule a meeting” means let’s plan a time to talk on the phone or have a Zoom meeting. Zoom, like Purell, is suddenly a hot commodity, but what is it, and how do you use it?
Entering college is the start of an exciting chapter in a young person’s life. It may seem inappropriate to be thinking about estate planning at that time, but there are documents that are important for a college student to have in place. Take a look at our infographic for a helpful guide on estate planning in your college years.
According to the Oxford dictionary, a plan is “a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something” or “an intention or decision about what one is going to do.” When everything is going well and we’re sailing along with no worries, planning can feel unnecessarily burdensome or like a waste of time which could be better spent enjoying life. In the midst of busy and full lives, it can be hard to slow down enough to think strategically about the future.
Here at Family Estate Planning Law Group, we believe in planning. It’s in our name, and it’s in our DNA. We can learn a lot, and we can know a lot, but we will never know the future or be able to predict what is coming next. As we all know and have experienced, life has a way of throwing unexpected things at us. Just when we think we have a concrete five-year plan, something changes; when we feel like we are in a certain spot, something shifts. That’s where a plan comes in. It is “an intention or decision about what one is going to do.” It means taking the time to be intentional about how we will deal with the unexpected, so when it happens, we know what we’re going to do.
In this infographic post, we discuss the many reasons a DIY Estate Plan doesn’t work for you. From changes in your life to protecting your retirement, it’s important to understand why these online providers do not provide an adequate substitute for a thorough estate plan. Learn more in our infographic.
Click on the image below to view the full infographic
In our last post, we busted two of the three most common estate planning myths about only the rich needing estate planning and that you don’t need to plan because your spouse will get everything. If you didn’t catch that post, give it a read to learn why those statements are totally false! Today, let’s bust the third and fourth most common myths.
Estate planning can be a very difficult process. While it’s not brain surgery, making the decision to move forward with the planning requires us to face the fact that we will not live forever. This thought can stop many people right in their tracks. Others talk themselves out of seeing a qualified attorney to put together an estate plan based on three common myths. Today we are going to cover the first two and stayed tuned for our next post that will reveal the third!
Estate planning requires some tough conversations and occasionally involves thinking about worst-case scenarios for you or your loved ones. That’s why a lot of people treat it like the dentist, something that they know they ought to do but want to keep it out of sight and out of mind.
Planning your estate and the more difficult aspects that come with it can be made even harder by dealing with a chronic illness, whether it’s your own or your spouse’s. If you or your partner have to deal with the sort of chronic affliction that becomes more common with advancing age—such as Parkinson’s, glaucoma or diabetes—or one that’s been a part of your life for some time, your estate plan will need a little extra care and detail.
You earn your retirement—getting to that goal where you can leave the daily grind and focus on enjoying your senior years takes hard work and planning. But retirement isn’t always devoid of employment.
Maybe it’s a matter of getting more money to enjoy traveling while in retirement. Perhaps your long-time employer didn’t offer the greatest retirement contributions, necessitating a little supplementary income. Or you could just be bored and miss doing something outside of the house with your energy or talents!
Partially because of the large number of Baby Boomers advancing through retirement and their senior years, there has been a marked rise in multigenerational households. From the 1980s to the mid-2010s, the number of homes that have more than one adult generation living together under one roof has risen from 12 percent to 20 percent.
Moving your older parents in with you can provide a lot of benefits for both you and them, from not having to shell out for living space at a nursing home or senior facility to being close by in case of any health issues or emergencies. But it can also bring back plenty of the stress that might be familiar from when you were a teenager living under their roof.
There are a lot of aspects to consider/work out before you bring your parents to live with you in your home, ranging from financial concerns to safety issues.
Wide-ranging financial implications
Moving your parents in doesn’t mean you have to charge them rent necessarily, but there will certainly be some gray financial areas to be ironed out. Do you have adult siblings? Perhaps there’s some merit to having them pitch in on the cost of supporting your parents since you’ll be housing them under your roof.
Or maybe your parents will insist on paying their ways, such as any medical care or even offering you payment for their room and board. While that is generous, it’s important to consider how this living situation and any costs they’re shouldering can affect aspects of their estate plan or yours.
For example, are they eligible for Medicaid or trying to qualify for it in the near future? Keep in mind the income and asset thresholds, as well as the potential for monetary gifts to affect eligibility. As uncomfortable or unnecessary as it may seem, entering into a written rental agreement with your parents will ensure that any money they contribute toward their living and well-being under your roof isn’t seen as an uncompensated transfer which could prevent Medicaid eligibility.
Furthermore, how does their living situation affect your estate plan and theirs? Is the house an asset in your name or theirs? What happens if you both spend money on improving it? Will other beneficiaries of their estate plan be upset if your parents spend money on you or your house and change the balance of inheritable assets?
These are all things to talk over in full, both as a family and with your estate planning professional. At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we offer Family Care MeetingsTM as part of our ongoing client care program to help facilitate these kind of conversations. Bring everyone in to talk it out with our team and voice their concerns or questions— together, with you, we’ll fill in the blanks about maintaining the estate plan while being able to meet you and your parents’ needs after they move in with you.
But, also, safety first
While there are a lot of financial ins and outs to examine in this situation, don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this—to give your parents a safe and comfortable living situation with family in their old age. Those mentions of improving or remodeling your home above aren’t just about beautifying the place with the generosity of your parents, it’s also about making necessary improvements to make the home safer for them.
Aging in place has become a more common topic among home builders and remodelers in light of the rise in multigenerational living. Making a home senior-friendly will involve some alterations to prevent slips, trips, falls and other accidents.
You may know enough to install a grip bar for your showers or toilet, maybe add a ramp to your front door, or even install a stair chair. But getting a whole-home inspection will identify elements that may not be immediately apparent, such as loose rugs and slippery areas of hardwood floor or tile, poor lighting for someone with diminished eyesight that can cause bumps and trips, air quality concerns, difficult doorknobs or steps, and much more. Take the time to adapt your home for caring for your parents so that they can be comfortable, happy, and healthy living with you.
Having your parents move in with you can be a very selfless and loving act, but so too can helping them move into senior housing; it ultimately depends on dynamics and finances. Regardless of which direction you choose, at Family Estate Planning Law Group, we can help you navigate how to proceed with either decision. We are experienced in planning for mom and dad and in multigenerational estate plans. Our ongoing client care program enables us to help you navigate the implications of the decisions at no extra cost.
Schedule your complimentary consultation today to learn how we can help you plan your estate and decide the best next steps for you and your aging parents.