Estate, emergency planning for single people

All of us should plans for that time when we can't manage our own health care, our own finances or our estate after we pass. If you have a partner or children, it’s an easier choice, but singles too often are left without a backup plan.

Singles need a financial back-up as much, if not, more than the rest of us. Some of us have built-in folks like our spouses or children, but sometimes singles don't. Particularly, if they're young and not thinking about the worst-case scenario yet.

So, here’s what this person would do:

  • Access to cash - Your backup would have access to your money in case of an emergency.
  • Healthcare agent - You'll need someone to make healthcare decisions if you're incapacitated.
  • Financial agent - That person may need to make financial decisions on your behalf.
  • Executor of your Will – And of course, you'll need an executor of your will.

This means your backup will have access to some very sensitive information, so here is a way to keep it all private until it is needed.

“What I advise people to do is make a list of their assets, all of their debts, all of their insurance policies, copies of their passports, put it in a sealed envelope. Give this envelope to your backup person or maybe more than one person has this. Your financial attorney has a copy, your executor has a copy, and your health care agent has a copy of different documents such as your insurance policies,” said Lisa Brown, Brightworth, an Atlanta-based investment company that provides custom wealth management solutions to individuals, families, and corporations.

Every year you should update this package. They don't have to open it, but your backups should know where it is in the case of an emergency.

And don’t forget passwords. That is part of the financial package is your passwords to the bank accounts, credit cards, e-mails, and even social media accounts.