When there are not adult children around to help, aging adults have to been clear when it comes to estate decisions. The good news is that by being prepared, this group, “Solo Agers”, or single people or couples who are don’t have kids to assist them as they get older, can have everything they in place. Here are some considerations about estate planning for solo agers:
Choosing a Decision-Maker
Having an Advance Heath Care Directive is a critical part of every California estate plan. This vital document sets out your medical treatment preferences and designates the person you want to make choices on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This person does not have to be a relative but should be someone you trust and feel comfortable with. Consider those you are closest to and select someone as soon as possible and an alternate decision-maker if the primary is unavailable.
Choose a Power of Attorney Agent
Another key legal document is your power of attorney for finances. You can use this device to name someone to watch over your financial interests if you become incapacitated. This document can grant broad or limited authority to the agent. You have discretion as to how much power this individual will have over your financial interests. This can be anyone you trust and it would be advisable to have secondary person in place to serve if this individual is unable to do so.
For solo agers who have pets, there is also the option of creating a pet trust for their care a maintenance. You can set up specific care instructions and dictate who will provide for them. The trust can include terms that specify things such as brands of food, veterinary care, and exercise schedules. If you have favorite charitable cause, you could also create a trust for its support.
Devising Your Estate
Some people make the mistake of believing that if you don’t have kids or extreme wealth, you don’t need a will. Having a will is just as important for solo agers as people with children. You can use this document to direct where you want your property to go, and express your final wishes. If you have loved ones who are non-relatives, you can leave them an inheritance through your will. Without a will, your estate would only pass to specific family members. Additionally, when a person dies intestate, without a will, it is stressful for their loved ones to have to manage their estate without direction. By leaving clear instructions through a valid will, you can make sure your final wishes are known and honored.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have the experience you need to prepare for every aspect of your estate plan. Schedule a consultation today.