How distance can play a role in a New Jersey estate plan

These days, people are much more mobile than they were just a generation ago. People move all across the state, country and world for new jobs, relationships and recreation. When a child or family member is one of the people moving around a lot, it can be difficult to rely on them for the purposes of long-term care.

As people get older, their physical, psychological and financial needs can change dramatically. This often means that they require more assistance in day-to-day tasks. But unless they have developed a comprehensive estate plan dictating how they wish to be cared for, they support they ultimately receive can be unstable if they are particularly dependent on someone who lives far away.

This can often be seen in the relationship between parents and children. Many of us would like to assume that our children will be able to care for us as our needs change, but what if those children grow up and move away? How does that affect the care that a parent could receive?

The answer is that it can dramatically affect care. It can be very difficult for a person who lives across the country to manage someone's finances if they live far away, for example. Similarly, ensuring that an elderly or vulnerable loved one is actually receiving the care promised at a nursing home facility can be a challenge for someone who is unable to check in physically. 

Some children opt to have their parents move to where they are living. But this might only be a temporary fix, especially if parents do not want to move or a child ends up having to move again. It also could be financially impossible to facilitate such a change.

In order to take a proactive approach to these potential obstacles, people completing an estate plan in New Jersey may want to address these matters specifically and with the help of an attorney. They can identify where they would like to live and who can act on their behalf if a child is unable to. They can also set aside money specifically for their own care, rather than depend on a child for financial support.

Not only can a clear estate plan establish a person's wishes, it can also make it easier for children to make decisions for their parents without having to worry if they are doing the right thing.

Source:, "Taking care of aging parents, from a distance," Paul Sullivan and Kerry Donahue, Nov. 19, 2013

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