A new book suggests that estate planning and elder care and a loved one’s death are especially important for today’s complex modern families. In Homeward Bound: Modern Families, Elder Care, and Loss, the authors contend that the current approach to estate planning and elder care is based on an outdated care giving model that presumes a life-long connection between parents and children.
Authors Amy Ziettlow, a Lutheran minister, and Naomi Cahn, a law professor at George Washington University, interviewed caregivers whose mother, father, stepparent, or ex-stepparent had died, in order to gain an understanding how current legal, medical, religious and social tools worked to help the caregivers. They found that the current long term care giving model is designed for tight-knit families where both parents stayed married and the children and parents have shared beliefs. By contrast, today, more than 40 percent of Americans have step-relatives and the divorce rate for older adults has doubled.
Ziettlow and Cahn determined that single-parent and remarried households, in particular, need formal planning to help caregivers deal with problems that might arise. Examples of challenges that can benefit from advance planning include how to care for aging parents who don’t live together, how to deal with depleted finances that result from divorce, and whether there is an obligation to care for a stepparent or a parent’s unmarried partner. In their interviews, the authors found that most advance planning occurred once the patient was enrolled in hospice because hospice providers were well equipped to deal with unique family circumstances. Getting families to plan earlier—i.e., when divorcing or remarrying—could help families deal with the complicated issues that arise.
Modern seniors have different familial structures than past generations. Advance planning for estate planning and elder care is extremely important to help caregivers navigate the complexities of contemporary families. Talk to us about setting up a plan that includes long-term care as well as appropriate estate planning for your family’s unique circumstances. We can help guide you to make the best long term care planning decisions for you and your family, that accomplishes your objectives based on your family’s circumstances – rather than a plan that is structured for circumstances that don’t address the complexities of today’s legal, medical, religious and social realities. Call us today to assist you with your estate planning and elder care needs. With a $5.47 million exemption for each individual, estate taxes are no longer a concern for 99% of the population. The proper focus is the family dynamics and circumstances that your estate planning and elder care plan must appropriately address to meet your needs. We’ve been doing that for over 30 years.
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