What Should a Single Person Do for Financial and Health Care Agents?
Many of the suggestions you give to protect seniors from fraud involve children—children as co-trustees of revocable trusts, as joint account holders, etc. What do you recommend for single people without children or the surviving spouse in a marriage without children after one of the spouses dies? For “singles” without close or trustworthy friends or family members, are there decent alternatives?
That is a difficult question and situation. As always, there are more solutions available for people with substantial assets than for those without. If you have enough savings and investments, a professional trustee is probably the best answer, whether a bank, a trust company, or a law firm. In some cases, these institutions or professionals are willing to act as agents under a durable power of attorney as well. Those unable to afford a paid solution need to see if there are volunteers in their community who are willing to serve in a fiduciary role. Some of these may be connected to senior centers or religious organizations.
Senior centers and religious organizations may also provide volunteer health care agents. While professionals are available to help with legal and financial matters, most shy away from taking on the more intimate role of making health care decisions for someone they may not know personally.