Aging alone is not a new phenomenon but is much more prevalent today than it was several decades ago. More people than ever never get married, and many who do decide not to have children. Other times, someone ends up alone due to the death of a spouse or family member.
Whatever the reason, solo elders typically feel they don’t need much of an estate plan. They may only create a basic will leaving their assets to charity, but there are other considerations for seniors with no family.
Incapacity and medical care
As you know, growing older may mean an increase in adverse health conditions. Elders are also at a greater risk of injuries from a fall or other accident. If you should suffer an incapacitating illness or injury, you will need someone to represent your best interests.
Those with no family can choose a trusted friend to represent them in a medical emergency, but it is best to have someone younger than you. If you don’t have a suitable candidate, you can designate a law firm or a professional agency.
Get it in writing
Before someone can make medical decisions on your behalf, you must designate them as your representative in a legal document. A healthcare power of attorney allows you to name a trusted person to make your decisions when you cannot speak for yourself.
An advance healthcare directive (aka living will) empowers you to specify the type of treatments you wish to receive and those you do not want. You can also address end-of-life matters like whether to receive life-prolonging treatments (tube-feeding, artificial respiration, etc.) if your prognosis is unfavorable.
If you are a solo elder, continue familiarizing yourself with aging alone as safely as possible. We also recommend that you learn more about elder law in Florida.