How Can Those in Gen X Prepare to Help Aging Parents?

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KS and MO Attorney Kyle E Krull

Written by Kyle Krull

Attorney & Counsellor at Law Kyle Krull is president of the Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull, P.A., an Estate Planning Law Firm located in Overland Park, KS. Estate Planning Attorney Kyle Krull has provided continuing education instruction to attorneys, accountants, and financial professionals at local, state, and national programs.

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POSTED ON: April 18, 2024

Many members of Gen X are considered part of the sandwich generation as they care for their own children and their aging parents.

Members of Gen X will soon become caregivers to aging parents.

While rearing children is a joy, it can also be quite costly.

Supporting the needs of aging parents can foster sweet moments of connection, but it, too, takes time and money.

People who have both responsibilities often feel stress and worry about their finances and the well-being of their loved ones.

According to a recent Kiplinger article titled "What Gen X Needs to Know About Their Aging Parents' Finances," members of Gen X should encourage their parents to be proactive in their estate and incapacity planning if they will soon require additional support and caretaking.

Because members of Gen X will soon be transitioning into the sandwich generation, they should also start planning for the reality of this life stage.

Those who care for their own children and aging parents are considered the sandwich generation.

Members of Gen X who care for aging parents have entered the sandwich generation.

Take an Inventory of Assets and Debts.

Your parents should be the experts on their finances.

They should be able to identify all of their assets and their debts.

These are critical components to effective estate planning.

Having a list of bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate property, investments, home mortgages, and credit card balances makes planning more comprehensive and practical.

Providing this information to an experienced estate planning attorney will help this professional create a customized plan for your parent's needs as they navigate aging and lean on you for more support.

Understand the Amount and Sources of Income for Your Aging Parents.

Although your parents may be retired, they will still have some source of income.

While some employers provide pensions, most individuals receive retirement income from Social Security, IRAs, or other retirement accounts or investments.

By understanding these sources, you can help your parent budget and plan for possible shortfalls.

Check on the Existence of an Estate Plan.

Inquire whether your parents have an estate plan and what documents are included.

Although this may seem like a personal question, it is essential to know whether they have thought through their wishes should they become incapacitated or die.

Suppose they do not have a comprehensive plan that addresses beneficiaries, asset distribution, long-term care, and medical decisions.

In that case, your parents should take action immediately to ensure their wishes are understood and honored.

Ask Your Aging Parents about Future Healthcare Costs.

As people age, they tend to require increased hands-on medical care and attention.

Preparing for these expenses is critical for helping those in Gen X care for aging parents.

If your parents have medical conditions requiring medications or other care, you should start planning early to develop strategies for paying for these expenses.

Possible sources for payment include medical insurance, long-term care insurance, personal savings, and income-producing investments.

Through advanced planning, you can reduce stress around finances and ensure your parents receive quality care.

Protect the Wealth of Aging Parents from Financial Fraud or Misuse.

Although unsavory characters have always sought to steal from hardworking individuals, technology has made accessing victims easier!

You may worry about your aging parents falling prey to scammers or misusing money during cognitive decline.

It is possible to provide greater protection against financial exploitation.

Using powers of attorney or living trusts, your parents can authorize trusted family members to act and make decisions on their behalf and in their best interests if necessary.

Find an Estate Planning Attorney.

When preparing to care for aging parents, Gen X parents and caregivers should work with estate planning attorneys and financial advisers.

These experienced professionals can help you develop strategies for addressing current financial needs and future goals.

What are the Key Takeaways for Members of Gen X and Their Aging Parents?

Generation Xers are moving into the sandwich generation, where they will be responsible for their children and aging parents.

To prepare for financial and emotional burdens, estate planning is essential for caretakers and aging parents.

Both parties should plan their wealth and legacy by discussing estate plans, financial risks, and long-term care.

These discussions should be held sooner rather than later.

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can afford you and your loved ones greater peace of mind in this new stage of life.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice concerning any particular issue or problem. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship between Harvest Law KC and the reader.

Reference: Kiplinger (June 5, 2023) "What Gen X Needs to Know About Their Aging Parents' Finances."

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