How Estate Planning can prepare the Sandwich Generation for the challenges ahead

Have you ever felt “sandwiched” between raising your own family and caring for an aging parent?

If so, you are likely part of a unique group of people known as the “Sandwich Generation.” So what is the “Sandwich Generation?” This generation is a group of adults who are experiencing a phase in their life, usually in their 30’s or 40’s, balancing the duties of providing for their own families and taking care of both their children and parents.

How to Plan for Your Future as Part of the Sandwich Generation

It can be extremely difficult juggling priorities if you are part of the sandwich generation, especially from a financial perspective. You often hear financial planners talk about the importance of retirement planning, which often includes paying for your children’s college education. However, on top of the responsibilities you were already planning, now you may be faced with providing support for your parents as well.

The Estate, Trust & Elder Law Firm, P.L., are experts in estate planning, trust planning, and long-term care planning and are uniquely positioned to provide outstanding service and guidance through the process of balancing your own family with the care of your aging parents. Here are a few suggestions to help if you are facing some of the challenges of the sandwich generation:

Talk Things Through with Your Family Members

Having a conversation with your family members will help better manage everyone’s expectations. There are also a variety of resources and forums that can put you in touch with others experiencing the same things. These outlets provide a space to share information and offload your burdens. Be sure to enlist the help of your children as well. Even the youngest child can spend one-on-one time with a grandparent, whether face-to-face or through Skype or Facetime. Not only will the child and grandparent benefit from spending time together, but it will also give parents time to return phone calls, make dinner, or take care of other responsibilities.

Know Your Workplace Rights

Programs such as FMLA, or Family Medical Leave Act, offer job security if you are required to take a leave of absence for family medical issues. While this won’t provide you with paid time off, it will allow you to maintain access to your health insurance benefits for up to 12 weeks. You may also want to explore working remotely so you can be in the same location as your aging parent throughout the workday.

Talk Things Through with Your Parents

If you haven’t already, discuss your parent’s preferences and ability to pay for their daily needs and long-term care if required. Be sure to include any siblings in the conversation. You can determine who could help provide care and whose home would offer the best support for your parents. If external help will be needed, research local resources together. Most importantly, consult with an elder law attorney to ensure all legal documentation is prepared and on hand if a financial or medical decision presents itself.

Don’t Overlook Your Retirement and Legal Needs

While your parents are a huge part of the sandwich generation responsibilities, you don’t want to overlook your own financial planning that will protect your lifestyle and future. College funds should be a priority, as well as life insurance to protect your family’s future. You should also have an emergency fund in place that will cover unexpected medical bills, incidental costs, and other unexpected expenses. Finally, don’t forget to consider your estate plan. Our attorneys will ensure that not only are your parents taken care of by having all of their legal documents in place, but you and your children as well.

Let Us Help with Legal Issues Surrounding Intergenerational Caregiving

Proper planning can considerably alleviate the stress of caring for both your parents and children. However, when it comes to the elder issues facing the sandwich generation, there are a few specific things you should speak to an elder law attorney about to be prepared for the present and future.

Have necessary documents complete and on hand, including a will, power of attorney, trust, and other estate planning documents. These documents will allow a trusted person to legally take care of essential matters for an incapacitated person, such as managing investments, paying bills, and directing medical care.
Enlist an estate planning attorney to help you create a plan for long-term care. Medical insurance is just one piece of the medical care puzzle. Who can help you or your loved one with their daily activities? How will they afford that care? Having a clear plan in place will give you peace of mind in the event of illness or incapacitation.
Create an asset protection plan. Can you or your loved one’s hard-earned savings be preserved? Health benefits, retirement funds, and other assets should be used wisely and protected. Our attorneys can help guide you to make that happen.

Trust your future to someone who has deep experience with elder law issues like the team at The Estate, Trust, & Elder Law Firm, P.L. Our mission is to provide comfort and shelter to families by aiding them during the uncertainties of end-of-life decisions. So whether you are part of the sandwich generation, younger or older, let us find solutions to give you the peace of mind you deserve.

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Whether you need to update your estate plan, are preparing for future long-term care needs, have a loved one entering or already in a nursing home, or need help administering an estate, our team is here.

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