Multigenerational living a guide to a happy household
As average life expectancy and house prices have both increased over the last 25 years, so too has the number of families who are choosing to live together in a multigenerational household, so how can you make such an arrangement work without any disputes?
Start with the financial details.
It is likely that it will be the older generations in the family who will be putting the most capital into the arrangement. Ownership of the equity in the property should be recorded along with how day to day household expenses and maintenance costs will be met. A deed could also be drawn up to record the ownership of the property for each family member, otherwise in the absence of such a document the law could assume an equal split, especially in the event of a divorce.
Have an up to date Will.
Every adult should have an up-to-date Will which details what happens to their share of the property on the event of their death, especially if the parent has other children who don’t live with them that they would like to receive a share of the property. For parents with children under the age of 18, it is important to appoint guardians in their Will.
Free childcare or a live-in carer?
It might be assumed that as you live together you will all take equal responsibility for the care of younger children or older relatives, however over time that might create a burden on some members in the household and lead to arguments. Discussing all of these details in advance – even who walks the dog, feeds the cat or does other chores is important.
Consider what happens to the arrangement if one member of the family loses mental capacity which can occur at any age. As well as providing care for them, you will also need to consider how tied together your finances are and how easy this is to unpick.
A Lasting Power Of Attorney will allow for the transition of decision making between household members for financial and or health and well-being reasons.
Have your own space.
Discussing the arrangement in as much detail as possible should help to avoid disagreements but it is important that everyone has their own space that they can retreat to if they need peace and quiet. Respect everyone’s space, possessions, and feelings for a happy household.
Alex Astley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org