Let’s face it, being single does have its perks. You can come and go as you please. You can walk around the house looking as ratchet as you want without judgment. You can eat your favorite cereal for dinner out of your favorite bowl and not have to clean up the kitchen. YAAAAAAASSSS! Single life rocks…until you get hit with an illness.
About three years ago, I was hit with a serious illness that put me on the sideline for an entire year. I was in and out of the hospital and spent most of my time getting blood drawn while staring at multiple specialists who tried their best to get me back on the road to recovery. During this time, I realized although I had an amazing support system, I had no one in place to make decisions for me if I could not (insert dramatic music here). In this blog, I will show you the top three things that I did immediately (YOU do these NOW so you will not have to scramble like I did) to make sure my road to recovery did not have me living on the street. Married peeps, you can do this too and if you have children, PLEASE get your affairs in order.
1. Assign a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a document used to appoint someone to make decisions (medical, financial, business etc.) on your behalf. This is a big one! This person should be someone who you know is responsible, trustworthy, and able to make wise decisions. Why? Because whomever you assign will have access to your bank accounts and he/she will be able to make medical decisions for you. This person will essentially be you. I have two people assigned in the event one is unable to fulfill the duty and one person is ready to step up if those two cannot (yes, like a runner-up in a pageant). Most hospitals have the capability to provide a Power of Attorney form. It is wise to speak with a lawyer and have legal documents drawn up outlining your wishes.
2. Get a Living Will (Advance Directive) and a Will for Your Estate
Okay, you are probably wondering why you would need these things if you are single. In Most states, if you do not specify in writing your final Wishes the state can make those decisions for you. I, for one, do not want my state taking my assets and doing with them as they please. Having a Will allowed me to name beneficiaries for my assets including my fabulous shoe collection. A Living Will, also known as an Advance Directive, is a written statement that details your desires concerning medical treatment in the event you are no longer able to express informed consent. This form is helpful for your Power of Attorney because he/she will not have to make the tough end of life decisions if your health declines. Again, sit with a lawyer and your designated person(s) so that your plan is legally binding and your peeps know what to do and expect when needed.
3. Support System
Do not be so proud that you do not accept help. PERIOD. Being single, with no siblings, and no family in close proximity meant I had to really rely on friends to help me. During my illness, I was not able to drive and preparing a meal for myself was a challenge. My support system swooped in like a group of superheroes preparing meals, driving me to appointments, and making sure my hair was done (call me vain, but when the curls are poppin’ I feel better).
BONUS: GET LIFE INSURANCE
EmPOWERed people…hear me…gofundme.com IS NOT AN INSURANCE POLICY! Do not be that person who has insurance on a cell phone, but your family must create an account and sell fish plates to pay for your final arrangements and your bills. Do some research and get a good policy for much less than a cell phone.
Although sickness and *gasp* death are tough topics, they happen every day. Do your loved ones a favor and implement a plan that will take the guesswork out of what needs to be done for you when you are not able. You will thank me later.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tracey (The Greatstigator) Massey is a Certified Life Coach and Speaker who teaches women how to slay goals without apology, optimize the day, and make self-care a priority. Tracey’s soon to be released book, “Thank God for the Journey”, is a story of being thankful through tragedy and life missteps. Learn more about Life Coach Tracey at www.livingmyempoweredlife.com