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.