Lifestyle & Retirement

In Law Apartment

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QUESTION:  My parents are in their late 70’s and we’re thinking of adding on an in-law apartment for them.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this to my home “ and my life?

"YOUR NEST" RESPONDS:  One cannibal to another: I can’t stand my mother-in-law.  Second cannibal: Forget about her.  Just eat the carrots.

Not sure if an in-law apartment is right for you and yours?  Here are some questions to ask yourself:  Do your parents need assistance but are still able to live alone?  Do your parents want to live that close to you?  Do you want to live that close to them?  What about your siblings?  You need to get buy-in from all involved, especially if the in-law apartment means costs renovations to your home.

As you consider an in-law apartment, you need to consider the following issues:

Family Dynamics:  If you have family, you need to take the feelings of your spouse and children into account.    If everyone is Up for the decision, then the experience can make you a stronger, more loving family.  Otherwise, the choice will become a source of continuing tension.

Personality Clashes:  If one or both of your parents are opinionated, outspoken, or feel they have a right to comment on your affairs, then you are headed for trouble.

Finances:  Adapting a home and providing support will require considerable investment.  Are your siblings willing to pitch in?  How about your parents?  There may be some positive tax implications “ but you should check with your accountant, first.  Adding an in-law apartment may potentially increase the value of your home “ but only a bit.  Nevertheless, it will distinguish your home in a crowded market.

Consider all of these issues “ and then consider alternatives.  Are there senior housing facilities in your area?  (Search the Your Nest housing options database!)  When all is said and done, this is a joint decision that must include all impacted family members.  Best wishes!

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