If your parents fail to prepare for old age and the possibility that they may need extended care at some point, or if you are not prepared to care for your parents, it is very possible that the only inheritance that you will receive is a negative one. A negative inheritance is basically when the cost of caring for an ailing parent exceeds any inheritance that you may receive from that parent when they pass away.
The cost to children that care for their aging parents includes not just financial, but also physical, as well as emotional. Very often those that take on the responsibility of caring for aging loved ones must give up much of their own life, including their jobs, and sometimes even their homes. It may be necessary to live with your parents in order to give them the level of care that they need. In many cases the primary caregiver cannot hold down a job while caring for their parent, plus they could also need to pay out of their own pocket for their parent’s upkeep.
While it is true that most people do this willingly, and would prefer it to placing their parent in a nursing facility, the willingness to take on this responsibility does not take away from its negative affect on your life.
The only way to avoid this type of problem is if both you and your parents are prepared for the possibility that extensive, long-term care may become necessary as your parents age. If you are prepared for this, you can take steps to ensure that the negative impact is as small as possible.
Know what your options are, and how much financial help you can expect from Medicaid or the Department of Veterans Affairs. You will also want to be familiar with the community services that are available to help ease the burden on families. If at all possible, parents should try to prepare for the possibility of needing long-term care by purchasing long-term care insurance. Many long-term care insurance policies include coverage for home care, which will go a long way in easing the burden on children.
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