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Michigan Elder Law Today

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How to Plan for the Future as an “Elder Orphan”

With the Baby Boomer generation beginning to age and enter retirement, there has been an assortment of strategies and tactics suggested to those caught in the “Sandwich generation” – that is, those tasked with caring for both minor children and aging parents. However, for some elderly folks, there are no surviving (or available) family members able to help out with transportation, medical needs and daily living. These individuals, coined “elder orphans” are left in the unfortunate position of having to arrange for their own estate planning and care without the assistance of adult children and/or relatives. Fortunately, there are tips and strategies that an experienced estate planning attorney can offer to ensure all senior citizens have a comprehensive plan to address the inevitable needs of getting older.

According to a study by the University of Michigan, as many as one-quarter of folks aged 65 and older are childless and without an adult familial caregiver.  Moreover, one-half of those will end up widowed in years to come. For older people in this situation, navigating the healthcare system can be an extreme burden, and may result in the unintentional neglect of medical treatment and attention.

For those who may be facing this situation in years to come, building a strong community network is a vital component to ensuring stability in the future. For instance, many people find solace in part-time employment, membership in civics organizations and consistent attendance with faith-based activities.

With a network of support in place, be sure to select one or two close confidants to inform about the whereabouts of your estate planning documents. As well, it will be necessary to select a close friend to serve as a healthcare and financial power of attorney – as failure to execute these documents could lead to significant difficulty later.

Lastly, employing a network of professionals can be an invaluable step, from a trusted attorney, financial advisor, accountant and geriatric planner, if necessary.

Contact an experienced estate planning attorney today!

If you are in the “elder orphan” category and would like to get started on getting your affairs in order, please contact attorney Andrew Byers today!


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