Livens & Reed, PLLC

Estate planning needed for the elderly single woman

The divorce rate for first marriages is hovering at almost 50 percent and that for second and third marriages even higher. Also considering that some women stay single by choice, some experts recommend that women should think in terms of estate planning and elder planning needs as though they will someday be single. The monetary funding of one's future needs in Texas and elsewhere is often the first and foremost challenge of the planning process.

Because a 65-year-old woman today may expect to live another 20 years, it is expected that many women will need help at some point with basic needs such as bathing, feeding, dressing and toileting. Our government's ability to plan for our custodial and chronic care needs has not even been a topic that can be reached in light of the massive attempt to simply provide a health care system that will take care of the basic needs of all citizens. This void leaves it up to the individual woman to engage in some estate and elder law planning that will make sense.

Some experts recommend that long term care insurance should be considered where it can be afforded. These policies now generally have options to get back something if the benefits are never tapped, which addresses a common criticism. Generally, it is also a major challenge to identify the person who will be appointed to communicate with physicians or health care providers regarding one's health care preferences. This requires a health care proxy, with a living will to fully round out the protections.

It is also important to find the right person as the executor of one's estate and the power of attorney agent. Usually, if relatives are in short supply for a single woman, there will be a trusted friend or financial professional to call upon for assistance. The health care benefits that we have inherited through a longer life span have created these new challenges requiring estate planning in Texas and elsewhere for elderly single women. It will likely be a great relief to one's peace of mind to focus on the necessary planning steps now while time is still on one's side.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Estate Planning And The Single Girl", Ann Margaret Carrozza, June 22, 2015

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