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Planning for your elder years when you don’t have children

Many baby boomers opted not to have children. Now, in their retirement years, they have plenty of time and money to spend traveling, pursuing new hobbies and visiting friends without having to worry about making time for children and grandchildren.

However, people without children need to carefully plan for their own care in the latter decades of their lives. Even if you’ve remained in good health and reasonably active into your 60s and 70s, that can begin to change as you get into your 80s and older. Something called senescence takes place. That’s the breakdown of the body. There’s no escaping it.

Everyone ages differently, of course. However, as you get into your latter 80s, you can expect to need some assistance with what are referred to as activities of daily living (ADLs). Whether because of physical and/or mental limitations, many elderly people begin to have difficulty taking care of themselves.

By investing in a long-term insurance policy and having some savings in the bank, you can help ensure that you have the resources if you find it necessary (or just advantageous) to move into an assisted living community or hire a home care professional.

If you don’t have children or grandchildren, you may not think it’s imperative to have an estate plan. However, estate planning involves more than whom you’ll leave your assets to. It can and should include documents that state who will be responsible for your financial and medical decisions if you’re not able to make those decisions yourself. While you may want your spouse to do that, what if they die before you or become mentally or physically incapacitated?

If you don’t have family members whom you trust with these responsibilities or who are able and willing to take them on, you can hire a professional fiduciary. However, it’s best to be as clear as possible about your wishes for your health care and end-of-life care. Here in California, you can do that with an advance health care directive.

California estate planning attorneys assist people with all sorts of family types craft estate plans as well as those with no living family. Your attorney can help you plan for the future and help ensure that your wishes are known and properly documented so that you can rest a little easier and enjoy this time in your life.

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