Multigenerational Families Need Estate Planning that Contemplates Different Needs


With higher life expectancies, multigenerational families, or families composed of three or more generations, may become the new norm. When it comes to estate planning, how do you contemplate the different needs of a multigenerational family? 

In a multigenerational family it may be important, and difficult, to remember to put yourself first. As the head of your family, it can easily become second nature to put the needs of other family members first, especially if you are a member of the sandwich generation, caring for both your children and parents. When it comes to estate planning, however, take your own needs into account. This can include saving for retirement, as well as having a plan in place for who would handle your finances and personal affairs should you become mentally incapacitated. Along these same lines, designating a healthcare surrogate and signing a living will can help ensure your wishes regarding medical care are met. Finally, a will or trust will provide for distribution of your assets after your passing.

You should also consider planning for both children and grandchildren. If your children are minors or if you are the legal guardian of minor grandchildren, having a written plan in place regarding who will care for them should something happen to you should be an estate planning priority. Absent such a plan, a court may appoint their new guardian, which may not be the person they were closest to and who you envisioned would care for them. Other estate planning considerations for kids and grandchildren include college funds or gifts and planning for distribution of your estate to them. If you have a child or grandchild who you fear will quickly burn through any inheritance, due to poor money management skills or a substance abuse issue, there may be specific trusts which can be drafted to monitor his or her use of trust assets. 

You may also want to consider planning for aging parents. With all of the medical advances, the possibility that a parent may outlive you may not be nearly as remote as it was just a few decades ago. There are a multitude of estate planning options to provide for aging parents. You can create a trust, which will allow them to remain living in your home until their passing, at which time the home may pass to your children. A trust can also provide for a caregiver or other needs. Additionally, it can be important to work with an estate planning attorney familiar with Medicaid planning so that any assets bequeathed to your parents do not impact their Medicaid eligibility should they require that to pay for a nursing home. 

Having an estate plan in place for your multigenerational family can be a great New Year’s resolution and one of the best gifts you can give them. Our office is happy to assist with this. Please reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.

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