The process of watching elderly parents age before your eyes is an emotional and challenging experience and for members of the “sandwich” generation, a duty to balance the care for their children and their parents can be a difficult job. This responsibility can be escalated if there are serious health or financial issues involved. The process of caring for elderly parents usually begins with the onset of an illness or injury suddenly striking the parent, at which time the child becomes the primary caregiver for the parent and has to make decisions about the parent’s well being.
For many people, this process begins in a hurried manner when something suddenly happens to the parent and the children have to play catch up. The best way to avoid this situation is to contact a trusted estate planning attorney and devise a plan while the older parents are healthy and have a say in the decision making process. Older parents always value their independence and may resist the need to prepare and estate plan, but sooner or later they will realize that having a specific plan in place is far better and less stressful for everyone involved.
It is no secret that the earlier in life estate planning takes place, the better it is for everyone and yet a recent study published by John Hancock found that 69% of those who responded to the survey had done little or no planning for long term care. There are many options for effective estate planning including long term care insurance, wills, powers of attorney for financial matters, health care directives, and the creation of various types of trusts. These options are best discussed with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you decide which option is best for all involved.