In the last few decades American priorities have shifted. It is no longer uncommon for an individual not to marry, or for a couple that is married to decide against having children. Some people instead choose to focus their life on finding fulfillment through their career or any other outlet. Baby boomers were the first generation to really begin this shift, and more than 20 percent of female baby boomers never had children.
Traditionally, as individuals begin to age, their children look after them and make sure that aging parents are provided for. So what happens to an individual in California that never had any children? Some individuals think that Medicaid will provide for any long-term care costs the individual could incur. However, Medicaid will only provide limited short-term coverage for most, so long-term care planning is an essential issue that should be considered as a component of comprehensive estate planning.
For example, one California woman that married later in life and never had any children has arranged a pension and some other investments to cover her long-term care expenses. She says, "Either I go into assisted living, or I stay in my home with somebody taking care of me. That would be my intention with the long-term care insurance."
Purchasing long-term care insurance as part of estate planning can provide this type of peace of mind for anyone, but most especially those that do not have anyone to financially fall back on, particularly in older age.
Another important component related to this is completing legal proxies that will appoint a person to make health care decision in the event an individual is unable to. Many people falsely conceive estate planning as exclusively for individuals with millions of dollars. However, any individual with any amount of money can benefit from planning for future health care and financial needs.
Source: The Kansas City Star, "Childless boomers wonder who will handle their long-term care," Anita Creamer, Nov. 13, 2012