Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Estate Planning to Take Care of Caregivers

“Companies Need to Care for Their Caregivers” is the headline of an article in a recent issue of the AARP Bulletin. Employers need to create caregiver-friendly workplaces, is the concept, and to that end, AARP has teamed up with the Northeast Business Group on Health to produce an online assessment tool at workandcaregiving.org to measure how well employers are doing to provide assistance to caregivers.

Estate planning attorneys need to help parents take care of their caregiving adult children as well, according to Kathryn Adams, writing about the impact of caregiving on adult children for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. “The costs associated with caregiving add up over time and often put adult children in a difficult position.  While they’re spending money caring for their parents, it often means they’re unable to put money into their own retirement funds.”  Aside from out of pocket costs, she points out, many caregivers must take time off from work to administer care or at least to drive parents to doctors’ appointments.

How much money are caregivers spending on average? Adams provides some eye-opening statistics:
  • Nearly half spend more than $5,000 annually
  • 16% spend as much as $9.999
  • 11% spend as much as $19,999
  • 5% are spending as much as $49,999
Parents who want to compensate their child for taking on the burden of caregiving may do so in several ways, Elder Law Guides explains.
  1. A parent can leave the child an additional amount through a will or trust. (“If a parent chooses to go this route, it is important that the parent explain his or her reasoning to any other children or family members that might be upset.”)
  2. If a parent doesn’t have cash to compensate the child, the parent may transfer the house to that caregiver, (either through an outright transfer, retaining a life estate for him/herself, or through creating joint ownership).
  3. If the parent qualifies for life insurance, the child can be made beneficiary.
 None of these options is without ramifications and considerations that must be thoroughly weighed. At Geyer Law, we discuss:
  • Medicaid planning advantages of different transfers and other tactics
  • Tax consequences of different strategies
Proper estate planning not only puts you in charge of your finances, it can also spare your loved ones - both the caretaking and the other heirs -  the expense, delay and frustration associated with managing your affairs when you pass away.

Estate planning should be done to take care of caretakers!

- by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team

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