Legal planning for elders with no family

Families often help their elders with legal planning. However, elders without families also need to make sure they have a plan for their future.

This plan should include legal documents that clearly dictate how their health, finances and other personal matters should be handled.

Important legal documents

One of the most important steps in legal planning is setting up a durable power of attorney. This allows the person to choose someone they trust to manage their money if they can’t do it themselves. A healthcare power of attorney lets someone make medical decisions for them. A living outlines the elder’s wishes regarding medical treatments and interventions they would or would not like to receive in end-of-life situations. These documents speak for them when they cannot speak for themselves.

Make a will or set up a trust

People with no children may think they do not need a will. However, it is important for everyone to create one. It specifies how they want their assets distributed after their death, potentially naming friends, charities, or other organizations as beneficiaries. Setting up a trust is another option that can help manage and pass on assets in private, often skipping the probate process.

Choose the right representative

Elders without family should consider appointing a trusted friend, a professional advisor or a fiduciary like a bank’s trust department. It is important to choose someone who is reliable and willing to take on the responsibility to handle the estate.

Keep things up to date

Laws and personal situations change. Elders should regularly check and update their legal documents to make sure they still reflect their wishes.



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