Justin, My mother just turned 75. She’s healthy for her age, but I’m starting to see things that concern me. I want to help her, but I’m still raising two boys of my own, and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Can you point me in the right direction? – Judy
Judy, Last week I told you that there are three things everyone in the Sandwich Generation must know to avoid major setbacks down the road. First, I advised that your mother (and you) set up power of attorney documents.
Second, your mother needs to protect her estate, and so do you. Many people think if they aren’t wealthy (however they define that term) then “estate planning” isn’t all that crucial. They are wrong. Without proper planning, even a modest estate can wind up in probate court. The high costs and lengthy time frame involved in that process should provide ample motivation to take steps to avoid it. But estates need protection from more than just probate court.
Without proper planning, families can face unnecessary taxation. They can also make assets vulnerable to the legal problems of the family members they hope to benefit. A smart estate plan will do more than just keep the estate out of court, and it’s something the members of the Sandwich Generation need just as much as their parents.
In many cases, these considerations prompt us to recommend a trust to our clients. A trust can help you avoid probate court, minimize taxes, and protect assets from the legal problems of the beneficiaries. Your mother may be more worried about probate court given her age. You may be more worried about protecting the boys you’re raising. We all have different motivations for planning, but we all need a plan.
The attorneys in my firm would love to help you with this. Call today for a no-charge strategy session, and check out our website to learn more.