Summer has officially begun, and while many are hurling themselves full-on into summertime fun, you are getting yourself and your minor children ready for the next year of school.

If you are a single parent, an aging parent of young children, or anyone with concerns about their ability to care for those who depend on you in a crisis, you are not alone.

Today, many people become parents in their 30s or 40s and realize they are caring for their young children AND their aging parents at the same time.

The Special Needs of the Sandwich Generation

The “sandwich generation” consists of folks between two dependent groups of family members, worrying about their ability to care for everyone. If you find yourself in this predicament, understand that it can be overwhelming. Add to that the stress and worry that if you should be catastrophically injured or killed, your entire family would have little to no means of support.  And add onto that your own career and your own financial planning for your retirement and care.

This is just one of the important reasons you need to work with an attorney who understands that you have estate planning needs that are impacted and informed by both of those generations (above and below). 

Two Ways This Impacts Your Planning

If you are someone who falls into the sandwich generation and you thought your parents would be the ones to take care of your children if you cannot, you may have to rethink who to name as your guardian. The people to whom you may have turned to in your own plan to be a guardian for your child may not be the best choice.  You will need to work through what it looks like to name a sibling, to name a friend, or to name another family member in your own plan.  Perhaps even naming a professional to take on the role of trustee or Executor is a good idea for you and your family when preparing an estate plan.

Having an estate plan that accounts for your children being financially supported until you see fit should be one focus of your planning. Working through how this should work as both you age and your parents age is important. 

Most parents envision helping their children get a strong footing in place after college. But what if you need that money? Would you want to keep supporting your young adult children? What if you are contributing to the care of aging parents?  Would you be able to support both generations while being mindful of your own eventual need for care?  These are important aspects to think about when creating reasons why your kids can access money from a trust once they turn 18 years of age especially if you fall into the sandwich generation. 

Also, working with someone who understands that aging parents may not be the best choice as a beneficiary of your plan due to their own need to become or remain eligible for important long term care benefits such as Medicaid and/or Veteran’s Aid & Attendance (Pension). 

Keeping in mind that you are caring for more than one generation, or you may be soon, is important when putting your own plan in place.

Maintaining Your Plan Over Time

While it may not be important right now to think of these two important aspects of caring for the generation above and below, it may be down the road for you.  That is why it is important to maintain a relationship with your estate planning attorney so you can maintain your plan. 

Life changes and our caregiving responsibilities change.  What works today may not work tomorrow.  But if you need the plan today or tomorrow, it is already in place and you will not be working in a crisis mode.  Call us at Atlanta Wills + Trusts Law Group today if you want to think about a plan that makes sense for your family today, and is ready to handle any changes for tomorrow. 

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