I recently learned about a Facebook Group called “Elder Orphans” which is a support group for those aging alone. It is a group restricted to those over age 55 who live without the help of a spouse, partner or children. It has attracted over 8,000 members who use the site to discuss common issues and concerns.
The number of individuals aging alone is increasing, so much so that catchy names are developing such as Elder Orphans or Solo Seniors. Special concerns we see as estate planners include who will be named to make medical decisions when an individual no longer is able to make those decisions him or herself. Without a family member to take over, this can present quite a challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of well qualified and able professionals in the Northeast Florida area who are available to help out. Cramer Law Center maintains an active list of trusted professionals, such as nurses, care managers and professional guardians to pair with our clients who present such a need.
Another challenge is who to trust with decisions over money and financial assets if a solo senior becomes mentally incapacitated. Naming an agent to act under a Durable Power of Attorney can be frightening to someone who has no close family member to trust. We work with a small list of trusted members of the American Association of Daily Money Managers and professional fiduciaries who can handle these financial tasks.
Of course, naming a trusted professional fiduciary who you have met and bonded with today does not guarantee that person will still be around in the future. That is why having an ongoing relationship with your estate planning attorney is so important. We constantly keep abreast of the comings and goings, including the praises and the criticisms, of local professional fiduciaries. Members of our LifeLegacy Program need not worry about their choices of professional helpers as we constantly monitor their performances and update our clients’ plans on a regular basis to reflect any needed changes.