Estate and Long-Term Care Planning Help for Solo Agers

Portrait of beautiful senior woman with white hair

Tips for childless boomers from the author of a new book

By Sara Zeff Geber Author and founder of LifeEncor

For boomers without children (Solo Agers), an important question to answer is: What happens when I am no longer physically or mentally able to make decisions for myself?

Many decisions have to be made to create documents such as an advance health care directive or durable power of attorney for health care (called a “living will” in some states); a durable power of attorney for finances and a last will and testament. The act of creating them will force you to survey your support system and determine who you want to make decisions for you if you are physically and/or mentally unable to make them for yourself.

When You Don’t Have a Someone to Make Decisions for You

Feeling squeamish about all this? Here is what happens if you become incapacitated and you have not executed these documents: a court judge will put your case into a conservatorship and will appoint someone (a conservator or guardian) to make decisions on your behalf — a “paid guardian.” The court may not appoint the person you would have selected, especially if they are not related to you or named in any document.

The decisions the conservator makes for your care may be totally different from what you would have chosen for yourself. No matter how vehemently your loved ones argue on your behalf, the conservator will make decisions independently, or in conjunction with a court judge — based on their own belief system and preferences.

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