Elder Care Planning for Single Older Adults

As I have written about for many years, having a plan in place for one’s aging years is important. Making sure that there is a plan for future housing, future care, having legacy plans in place, and having the proper estate planning documents procured so that someone is set to handle things in the case of incapacity is vital. For aging couples, it is important that these plans are discussed and ready; but in a worse-case scenario, when plans haven’t been solidified, at least the spouse is in place to help provide support and clean up the pieces, even if the situation isn’t ideal.  But what happens if planning hasn’t been done for a single older person, one who might never have been married and might have no children? One who might not have any close or living relatives, then what?

I have found that many single older adults think that planning for their aging years is very simple. They believe because it is “just them,” not much planning it is involved. Quite to the contrary, because it is “just them,” more planning is actually needed. There are not any default family caregivers or family living situations to rely on. The estate planning area can be a special area of challenge.

For single older adults with possibly no family to name as durable powers of attorney or successor trustees on Trusts, what are possibilities?

  • Consider naming a close family friend that you trust.
  • An estate planning attorney can serve as a general power of attorney or executor of an estate if there is no other suitable person to name.
  • An estate planning attorney or family friend along with a corporate Trustee can be named as a successor trustee of a Trust (i.e. broker dealer of the financial advisor you work with, if that is appropriate and the fees are reasonable).
  • A Geriatric Care Manager might be considered as a power of attorney for health care/patient advocate if there is no other suitable person to name (they have the appropriate background in nursing and social work to make the health care related decisions on your behalf).

Elder Care planning is important for everyone, but especially important for older single adults. If you haven’t started planning and this applies to you, start the conversation with your financial planner today.

Sandra Adams, CFP® , CeFT™ is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Sandra Adams and not necessarily those of Raymond James. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.