There’s a movement, actually, it’s a quiet movement, in the U.S. As it turns out, more people are beginning to own their “introverted-ness”. To state it that way suggests there’s something about introverts that should be hidden; kept out of sight. Indeed, many introverts say they have kept their preferences for a quieter lifestyle under wraps. It’s not that there’s anything to be ashamed of; rather, it’s about the confusion that often surrounds just the word. Introverts are those who prefer a slower lifestyle and one that’s less encumbered than their extrovert counterparts. Everyone has the super-extroverted friend: she thrives at parties, loves to be the hostess and the more people around her, the better. And, too, she likely has a few introverted friends. Turns out, she likely admires their choices as much as they admire her. Extroverts thrive with excitement. Introverts thrive with far less energy around them. And now, finally, it’s OK to admit it. But what does it mean for the aging introvert?
For those who are single by choice, many assume their introverted friends and loved ones don’t have as much to consider in terms of their estate planning simply because there’s no spouse to consider. Nothing could be further from the truth. Introverts have as many assets and considerations as those who have people surrounding them every hour of the day. The reality is the number of folks who are living the single life as introverts is growing and proper estate planning matters.
The Aging Introvert writes, “Based on the people I know who have gone down this road, retirement is not the same for anybody. As an unpartnered, older woman, I am going crazy trying to envision mine. I don’t like traveling and I don’t like volunteering. I have no grandchildren and hobbies bore me,” and she’s not alone. In 1970, around one-third of Americans were single. These days, that number is around fifty percent. There are many advantages for being single and anyone who chooses to go it alone, either temporarily or permanently, they’re fiercely protective of their decisions. The issues they face are indeed quite unique. This is where an experienced estate planning attorney can be their biggest asset.
When you die without a will, it’s called “intestate”. For single people, their assets are usually distributed along bloodlines. If there are children, they’re the first recipients, followed by parents, siblings or other relatives naturally become default heirs. If a single person has no living relatives, his or her assets might wind up with the state, which is something most people definitely want to avoid. Still, that can be challenging for those who are truly introverted, “Over the years I have created various masks that helped me survive, but aging seems to tear these masks apart rather quickly and mercilessly.”
As we all know, a health event or other incident can leave us incapacitated, temporarily or permanently. For single people, it’s important to designate a trusted loved one or friend to manage assets and health care decisions in case of an emergency. Without proper directives, those decisions could fall to distant relatives or state-appointed strangers. These too are affordable legal documents that help ensure our wishes are being met, even if our voices aren’t being heard.
For the introvert, we get it. We know the last thing you want to do is spend hours in an attorney’s office. Still, as a single person, you should consider the benefits of a general power of attorney, an advance health care directive and a HIPAA authorization. Otherwise, people you don’t even know will be making those decisions on your behalf. By covering the bases today, estate planning for the introvert isn’t as overwhelming as it could be and the risks are eliminated for the future.