Iowa advisor Jean Mote is thrilled that her parents, now in their nineties, live in the same building as four of their six adult children. The Cedar Rapids siblings have divvied up day-to-day chores to help their parents. After her mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 87, she was accompanied to every medical appointment, while other members of the family kept Mote's father company. "The peace of mind of having the whole team in place and always there is indescribable," Mote says.

But planners see few clients with such peace of mind. Instead, families often cobble together plans after a parent is already in crisis.

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