For some retirees, moving in with their children is part of the long-term plan. For others, financial, health, or other concerns make it necessary. Regardless of the reason, proactive communication can help parents and children find a mutually beneficial arrangement. Follow these guidelines when talking to your children about your future plans.

Schedule a time to discuss before making any decisions

Though moving in with children may happen because of an unexpected event, the decision should be made after a discussion that includes everyone involved. Schedule a time when all parties can dedicate their focus on a rational and respectful exchange of ideas. Steer clear of emotionally charged or stressful events, like family gatherings or holidays.

Consider financial, emotional, and legal logistics

To ensure your conversation includes a discussion of financial, emotional, and legal issues, ask the following questions:

  • What are the reasons for the move?
  • What are the benefits to each person?
  • What challenges — including emotional ones — may arise?
  • What other options exist?
  • Is the move financially feasible for both the children and parents?
  • How much privacy and independence will each party maintain?
  • Can children continue working if parents need close care? If not, who will take the role?
  • Who will contribute to expenses and how much?
  • Does a new or revised household budget need to be created?
  • Under what conditions may it be necessary to seek professional at-home health care, assisted living, or nursing care in a facility? How will such costs be handled?

Be diligent with documentation

Moving in with your children inherently ties you together financially. Both parties should be transparent about financial issues, including estate planning matters and legal circumstances. Gather financial information and estate papers, including:

  • Retirement accounts, including pensions and annuities
  • Insurance policies, including medical and dental coverage
  • Liabilities, including loans and credit card debt
  • Estate documents, such as wills and trusts
  • Contact information for professional advisors, including your lawyer, accountant, and financial planner
  • Other documents detailing your wishes, including a health care directive, living will, health care power of attorney designation, and financial power of attorney

Make copies of the documents, confirm they are up-to-date and legally binding. Keep them in a secure location, like a safety deposit box.

Retirees can move in with their children happily and successfully, provided the family is united on a plan. Any changes should be discussed as early as possible. Honest conversation is the key to navigating this sensitive subject.

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