As the demographics of American society change the needs of each generation evolve along with them, one unique group of people is growing especially quickly — the sandwich generation, or those who are responsible for the care of both their minor children and their aging parents. Typically, this is a person in their late thirties to fifties with the average unpaid family caregiver being a 49-year-old woman.
Although this situation presents many challenges, there are ways to reduce some of the stress when caregivers are stretched thin between different care obligations in addition to their careers, money and life in general.
Planning is one of the best ways to protect both the finances and sanity of caregivers and parents alike. Although it may be uncomfortable, it is important to have a conversation about the future care of aging parents, their finances and future medical care before they are unable to fully participate. With a clear idea of what they have and want, no one will have figure it out while in the midst of an unexpected health crisis or major expense.
Another aspect of planning is organization. Keep important documents together and an inventory of assets for parents. If certain legal documents do not exist yet, consult an experienced estate planning attorney to make them for everyone involved. An attorney can help everyone understand that estate planning is more than just making a will and should be done for the old and the young. Also, having a designated executor, medical and durable power of attorney, and healthcare directive can save everyone significant stress.
Money is likely one of the biggest issues for the sandwich generation, as they feel obligated to contribute to both the cost of care for parents and for college and other costs for their children while also saving for their own retirement. With costs always on the rise, this can be overwhelming. Remember that prioritizing personal savings for retirement is important, not doing so will increase the risk of someday having to rely on children who likely will have their own families and expenses.
Coping with retirement planning, estate planning and childcare is not an easy task. Contact one of the experienced attorneys at Littman Krooks today if you need assistance with any estate planning needs.
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