Many Gen-Xers and now Millennials are part of the “sandwich generation.” They are taking car of their aging parents while at the same time raising families of their own.
Being part of the sandwich generation can be difficult. While you love your parents and appreciate all they have done for you, it is not always easy to provide elder care to your parents especially when they do not have an estate plan.
Your parents’ estate plan
When we think about our parents’ estate plan, we almost automatically think of making sure they have a will or perhaps even a trust. And while making sure your parents have a concrete plan on how they will pass on their assets, these are not the only documents they should include in their estate plan.
Your parents will also want to plan for incapacity — the possibility that their health could deteriorate to the point where they can no longer make responsible decisions.
A durable power of attorney grants an agent the ability to oversee your parents’ financial interests should they become incapacitated. Your parents can choose their agent, such as you, another relative or a financial institution, in their durable power of attorney.
A health care power of attorney gives a person the ability to oversee your parents’ medical care should they become incapacitated. Like a durable power of attorney, an agent in a health care power of attorney can be a trusted loved one of your parents’ choosing.
A health care directive is another essential component of an estate plan. This is a legally binding document for their health care providers and family to follow that outlines what type of medical care your parents want if they are facing a terminal illness or injury.
Make sure you have your own estate plan
While you want to ensure your parents have a comprehensive estate plan, as a member of the “sandwich generation” you will want to have a comprehensive estate plan of your own. After all, you could develop a terminal illness or be injured in a catastrophic accident, even at a young age.
You might still be providing for your spouse and children, as well as caring for your elderly parents. You want to make sure all your affairs are in order through estate planning, so your loved ones do not need to struggle unnecessarily during what is already a difficult time.