I am a member of the “sandwich generation.” My husband and I have a daughter in elementary school and parents nearing or at retirement. But you don’t have to have a small child to be a member. The “sandwich generation” also includes those parents with adult children struggling to make it on their own. We are sandwiched between the generation that came before and the generation that comes after with responsibilities to both. And our situation is not unique.

In 2013, a Pew Research study showed that nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). And about one-in-seven adults, aged 40-59, (15%) is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.[1]

With so much riding on the sandwich generation, comprehensive estate planning is crucial. Estate planning gives you the opportunity to examine your assets and find the best way to pass those assets along to your loved ones should something unthinkable occur. It allows you to assess your priorities and make informed decisions about your legacy. For example, in Texas where probate is not as burdensome as other states, leaving assets to your children outright may seem to be the simplest solution. However, multiple studies suggest the average inheritance only lasts about year. And what if you want to make sure that some of your assets are used to care for your aging parents?

We plan for vacations, for dinner with friends, and for holiday gatherings. We insure our health, our cars, and our lives. But frequently we don’t plan for the inevitable, which you must to insure your legacy. Comprehensive estate planning allows you to tailor your legacy for the future of your family.

[1] http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/01/30/the-sandwich-generation/