Marshall has another question, about estimated taxes...
Juggling Man, or should we say "sandwich generation". You are in a common situation. I understand your committment to your mother, but it is a personal committment, not a legal one. Have you started with a plan? Choosing a retirement facility that takes medicaide? Looking at all of her assets, then talking to social security about her options for help. Having a plan in hand will make that late night call that mom is in the emergency room easier to handle. But, don't feel guilty, you are right to be concerned about your financial future as well.
Juggling Man - You are definitely part of the sandwich generation. There's no one right answer here, but if your mother is in the low income bracket, she may qualify for a variety of social services that can help her effectively and at low or minimal cost. I would recommend going onto your state's Medicaid website to see what types of services might be available.
Hi Juggling Man
You are in a very difficult spot. As much as your mom is expecting your help, honestly, you need to think about yourself and your family. You could check into Medicad for your mother. This isn't ideal, but it provides health care with few assets.
Regarding saving for your retirement vs college. There is a common phrase "you can't get a loan for retirement' . So again, you need to think about yourself first. As a parent, I understand this isn't easy (and I'm guilty myself of emphasizing my kids over myself). I'd suggest you sit down with a fee only planner to look at all the things you are juggling and see what can work, and what can't. Knowledge is power.
Marshall, in a word, probably. It depends on if you met the requirements for estimated payments using 2011 tax information. Look at your tax return and it will plainly itemize penalty and interest charges. OR, just ask your accountant.
A followup for Deborah from JeanO
Yes, rental properties are taxed at Capital Gain rates. There are several rates depending on your income level. Talk to your cpa before putting the rental property on the market. No surprises then.
Mariette - LTC insurance in your 40s may be a bit early. Do you have any factors that would cause you to think you may need it soon? (May be ineligible if so). The LTC insurance industry is going through massive changes right now. (My policy premium doubled this year!) Typically, if you are in good health, I suggest someone wait until mid 50s to early 60's.