The evolution of the family unit has generated interesting new words

Many new terms associated with the modern family have entered the language in the past few decades. 'Sandwich Generation', 'Single parents' and 'Empty Nesters' are some well known ones.

New names for generational cohorts have also become widely used. There are 'War-Depression'; 'Baby Boomers'; 'Echo Boomers'; 'Millenial' and; 'X,Y & Z' generations. These descriptions pretty much cover us all.

A chart showing a traditional family structure

Not that long ago, when the kids left home it was usually for good. Parents wouldn’t be expected to live much beyond retirement age, or 65, and very few people lived long enough to see their great grand children.

With people living longer, healthier lives, suddenly, or so it seemed, adult children found they were increasingly involved with caring for aging parents whilst maybe still raising their own children.

On top of this, children who had left home began to return again seeking support from parents because of turbulent job markets and aging parents began to rely more on their adult kids because of the financial meltdown and historically low interest rates

These social seismic shifts have seen traditional households morph into a growing variety of family models comprising co-existing generations with a wide range of values and beliefs.

It’s not unusual, these days, to have four generations interacting as a close group. When people re-marry or live in a common law partnership this can add even more complexity. Totally new relationships within the group can present unknown future consequences.

A chart showing a blended family

In many cases a lot more thought will need to be put into financial and estate planning considerations than was the case, say, thirty years ago.

For example, tax laws apply equally to common law and married couples. When it comes to other legal matters though, that is not always the case. This may result in problems with property distribution.

It can become a complicated and involved area, especially when there are people from both sides of a new partnership living under the same roof.

As with all pages on this site, this material can be no substitute for appropriate professional advice.