Legal and financial planning for single older people.
December 17, 2010 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by this comment: what legal and financial plans should I be making?

I am 42, female, recently separated after 10+ years of being married, and recently moved to a new city where I have no friends. There is a possibility of health-related issues in my future (indolent form of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, treated with radiation and maintenance therapy, 2 relapses after two 3-year periods of remission, currently in remission).

What kinds of plans should I be making for the future?

In a previous AskMe, for example, someone had mentioned needing another person to accompany them for surgery. I am sure there could be other problems like this that I am not aware of (or thinking about), that I would like to plan for. My Mom lives several thousand miles away, and in any case I would hate to ask her for help, my Dad passed away this summer from cancer and I have a sibling who I suspect will not help me out. I foresee being single for the rest of my life and even if I did have a partner, I think it is wise to make these kinds of plans anyway.

Any other advice of a practical nature is welcome. I want to move on from being bitter (this is me, several months ago) to being more positive and practical about the future.

Thank you in advance!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (1 answer total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If I were you, I'd go talk with an attorney. A professional who specializes in these issues can help you get set up with legally binding documents that explain to the legal and medical world how you want your affairs handled. The attorney can also act as your advocate if someone tries to challenge your wishes. In general, you'll want to think about all of the ways in which we all need to be taken care of. Do you have good insurance that will cover your costs if something happens? (not just medical, but also homeowners/renters, liability, etc.)

The biggest thing may simply be cultivating relationships with people you love and do trust to help take care of you. Unfortunately, it's not really possible, especially as we age, to be completely independent. When you get right down to it, you're going to want someone to make you a casserole if you break a bone and can't get around the kitchen, and someone to drive with you to the far away place late at night to pick up your car after it's been towed and someone to let you stay with them when your apartment is being fumigated. You can arrange for a lot of it with sufficient money and paperwork (visiting nurses, attorneys, delivery services, etc.), but having people you trust will really help create that positive future you want for yourself. Good luck!
posted by decathecting at 3:05 PM on December 17, 2010

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