Multi-Generational Living is a New Trend

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Housing priorities of young families and retired couples can vary. More and more households are combining by necessity or for the added convenience. When households combine, invariably, some adjustments will be necessary. 

However, the needs of young families with babies and toddlers are not really so different from the "aging in place" guidelines that allow seniors to remain comfortable and safe in their own homes. So, when two or more generations share a home, function and aesthetics are equally vital.

Here are 5 points to consider:

Space Needs

An open floor plan is practical and contemporary, making a home feel more spacious than its actual square footage. Open space should be balanced with private retreats if different age groups are to coexist in harmony. Look for plans that include flex space or a bonus room that’s adaptable to specific needs, perhaps as a playroom, a home office or a space for reading and hobbies. Homes with split bedroom wings are ideal for multi-generational living, and a separate "apartment" can often be carved from underused rooms or in a basement.

The Heart of the Home

The hardest-working room in the home should be both functional and attractive. Ideally, a kitchen in a household with two or more generations would accommodate multiple cooks. Plan zoned areas for storage, meal prep, cooking and cleanup. Consider an island or eating bar with appropriate seating and be aware of traffic patterns. Install an under-counter microwave, a second sink, and perhaps remote refrigerator drawers or a supplementary dishwasher, if possible, to boost convenience.

Embrace Technology

Motion-controlled and voice-activated lighting is not only available and fitting, but it adds an additional layer of safety and security. But technology shouldn’t stop there. Employ modern high-tech devices to facilitate communication between rooms, to monitor door locks and the building perimeter, and to alert residents to potential equipment malfunction. Investigate sensors that provide early warning about fire, carbon monoxide and water leaks, and install water-temperature controls on bathroom faucets.

Bathroom Requirements

Shared bathrooms can be efficient and attractive with adequate lighting and storage, and modern fixtures and faucets.  If you must add or remodel a bathroom, compartmentalize it so that more than one person can use the space at the same time. Opt for blade-style faucet handles and lever doorknobs. Install comfort-height toilets and curbless showers, dual vanities and use easy-care, durable sustainable materials. 

Stairs and Hallways

Ranch homes are perfect for families with toddlers and young children, as well as for senior citizens. Aim for that hallways are as wide as possible, ideally four feet, and that doorways are 36 inches. Try to eliminate impediments like uneven flooring.

Finally, whether the living arrangement is short or long-term, try to adjust your routine to cater to the individual needs of each family member, allowing room for privacy and personal expression.

Tips on Creating an Estate Plan

Photo by Aymane Jdidi via Pixabay

Most people do not think of creating an estate plan before they are in their 40s or even their 50s. However, if you own a home, regardless of the cost of the home and regardless of your age, you should create an estate plan. Even if you are in your 20s, your family could end up losing a high-end home if you are in an accident and become incapacitated or you lose your life. Always contact an experienced estate attorney for help drafting your will and other estate documents, including trusts.

Titling Your Home

In today’s day and age, many people decide to live together without formally getting married. Most closing agents will title your home so that you own one half and your significant other owns one half. In most states, your significant other’s half of the house will have to go through probate unless the house is appropriately deeded. The ways you may title your home include:

  • Joint Tenancy: Gives you equal rights to the property. If one party passes, the ownership of that person’s half passes to the surviving tenants. However, if you are not married, you will have an extra step to take if you want to transfer your half to someone not listed on the deed.

  • Tenancy in Common: This is the most common way deeds are titled if two people buying a house are not married. Both parties have equal rights to the property. However, if one person passes, their half goes to their heirs and not to the other person on the deed unless that person is an heir. Each person can take out a mortgage on their half without getting permission from the others on the deed. This type of title usually has to go through probate.

  • Tenants by the Entirety: Only those legally married may title their home as tenants by the entirety. The house is automatically transferred to the living spouse. The property does not have to go through probate if it is titled as tenants by the entirety.

You may title your home in other ways, though those ways are not as common. Creating a will and a trust, along with titling your home properly, ensures that your half goes to the person you want it to go to, and, if done correctly, could save your spouse or significant other the hassle of going through probate.

Creating a Trust

Many types of trusts exist. When you choose the right type of trust for your situation, you may be able to avoid probate and avoid some taxes when your home transfers on your death. However, the main reason for a trust is so that your loved one may continue living in the home or taking care of the financial responsibility of your home should you become incapacitated. Certain trusts also keep your home and its equity from being eaten up by creditors such as nursing homes and doctors. Always consult an attorney to discuss the complexities of creating a trust and the rest of your estate plan.