Thursday
Jan172013

"Getting Even" With Your Kids

 

You may have seen a popular bumper sticker that reads, “Get even - live long enough to become a burden on your kids.” While the bumper sticker is meant in jest, it is a sad irony that many people are now living long enough to actually become a burden to their children (even loving, devoted children). Under the best of circumstances, living longer usually entails diminished capacity, diminished health, and diminished financial resources. Adult children are then often left in the position of caring for their elderly parents, and usually their own children as well (hence the term “sandwich generation”).

As elder law attorneys, we advise our clients to recognize this likelihood and face these issues head on by engaging in long-term care planning. Long-term care planning is the process of assessing one’s future resources and care needs, and then taking prudent steps to help ensure those needs are met, often with the assistance of professional legal, medical, and financial advisors. Even minimal planning can often significantly reduce the burden, financial or otherwise, placed on one’s children when faced with an aging and declining parent.

Here are some recommendations to help develop a realistic and effective long-term care plan:

  1. Accurately and honestly take stock of your present and likely future financial resources.
  2. Acknowledge any current or inevitable health-related issues which will significantly affect your care needs.
  3. Involve your children or other loved ones in the planning process. Discuss your situation with them openly and honestly to determine what role they can play in helping meet your future needs.
  4. Engage the assistance of appropriate elder care professionals, such as your doctor, a geriatric care manager, an elder law attorney, or even members of the clergy, who have experience dealing with the aging process.

As Elder Law attorneys we help our clients develop and implement a long-term care plan, which often involves much more than merely updating or preparing legal documents. We look at the totality of our clients’ circumstances and work with appropriate professional advisors who can fill any gaps in vital areas of concern. These gaps can include qualifying for Medicaid and Veterans Benefits, dealing with instances of elder abuse, asset-preservation and estate planning, and ensuring both elderly parents and their families are engaged and “on board” with a care plan. By acknowledging the inevitable and responsibly engaging in long-term care planning, you can help prevent the bumper sticker slogan from becoming a reality.