While many of us have been blessed with the good fortune of having children we can count on to care for us in our “golden years,” and whom we will happily leave our earthly belongings to when we die, there are also many of us who do not.
Childless married couples often turn to each other as the primary person to act as their agents to make financial and healthcare decisions in case of incapacitation. When one dies, the surviving spouse should look to other family members, friends or a trusted financial adviser to fulfill these duties. It is important that the person chosen to act, especially in the healthcare role, is fully informed about what these duties will entail and agrees to serve. Usually, the best candidates for these roles are people who are responsible in general, can keep a cool head in a crisis, and are someone you trust to act on your wishes.
Single seniors who are childless often face additional challenges as they age, particularly if they wish to remain at home. It is vital to create a network of caregivers – from extended family, close friends or a paid source like a geriatric caregiver or home health aide – to provide any necessary assistance.
Estate planning can be tricky for those without children as well. Married couples will likely leave everything to each other, but if one has a favored relative they want to inherit assets and they die first, the surviving spouse and his or her heirs will inherit everything. Couples can circumvent this by naming contingency beneficiaries in their wills and spelling out who will inherit what and when.
The Estate, Trust & Elder Law Firm, P.L., provides attorney services to a range of clients from young families to advanced and crisis long-term care for seniors. Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.