Much has been reported on the escalating costs parents face in raising a child. From birth to age 18, it is estimated that parents spend an average of $234,000 to raise a child. But when it comes to caring for an elderly parent, the costs are surprisingly similar.
A recent Forbes.com report highlighted the expenses involved in caring for such parents, which average $140,000. While this may seem much less than raising a child, consider this: the costs of raising a child are spread across 17 years, while the money spent on elder care is commonly expended over a four year period; with the largest amount applying to those over age 65.
This means that some may spend more on caring for their elderly parents than they do on raising their children. For those who already live on thin budgets, the specter of spending exorbitant amounts on long-term care can be scary and unforgiving.
Indeed, there may be tax breaks and public funding that could reduce the economic blows caregivers may suffer. Some long-term care costs are tax deductible, and Medicaid offers some assistance, but most families still pay for care expenses on their own or through insurance plans.
The cost of care is another example of why estate planning also involves financial planning. It is prudent for those establishing wills to also consider trusts, living wills and other documents that will help loved ones make informed decisions about care when a person's health declines.
The preceding is not legal advice.