Estate Planning for People Without Children

A number of seniors who are preparing for retirement and estate planning do not have children. Some childless retirees plan on hiring a child – a younger caregiver who will look after them in their old age. Children usually serve as the caregiver and beneficiaries to an estate, and they can typically be relied upon to ensure that their parents’ wishes are taken of. As a result, seniors without children need to take extra precaution when making arrangements for care and estate planning than seniors with children that can double check their plans.

Choose Your Advocates Wisely

You need to make sure that you pick advocates that you can trust with your estate planning needs. An advocate can help with housing arrangements, medical, dental, and financial affairs in addition to estate planning. Your support team can include your spouse, siblings, other relatives, family friends, or a trustee. Make sure that everyone knows who you are relying on as an advocate and what your preferences are regarding all aspects of your estate planning to make sure that your wishes are followed.

Set Up a Healthcare Proxy

A healthcare proxy is also known as a healthcare power of attorney. This person is authorized to make health care decisions for you in a situation where you are unable to do so yourself. Make sure that this person is authorized to review your medical records and is aware of your wishes regarding life support, surgery, organ donation and other important medical decisions regarding your care.

Consider a Durable Power of Attorney

This document appoints a person to make legal decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney can make financial and legal decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. A durable power of attorney form can be effective immediately or stipulate effectiveness on a particular event, such as your incapacitation. If you do not appoint someone and you do not have children the court will appoint a guardian for you. The lack of knowledge on the part of a court-appointed guardian could mean that your estate planning wishes are not fulfilled.

Purchase Long Term Care Insurance

Long term care insurance can help you afford the type of care that you need if your health begins to fail. This type of insurance helps pay for treatments needed for chronic care that are typically not covered by regular insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Services included in long term care insurance can also entail home care, assisted living, adult day care, respite care, hospice, and care at a nursing home facility.

Decide How Assets Will Be Distributed

One of the most important things for a senior without children to do in estate planning is make sure that everything is in order regarding the distribution of the estate. Whether it is drafting a will, creating a trust, or establishing a foundation you need to specific how and to whom your assets will be distributed.

You can give away parts of your estate to a spouse, family members, friends, charities, or whomever you like. Without the proper estate planning documents in place, state statutes and the probate court will determine who gets your estate, regardless of whether it aligns with your final wishes.

Go over your estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that everything is covered properly within the proper documents. You should also check the beneficiaries of any retirement funds, insurance policies, and bank accounts to make sure that they are all up to date.

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