Planning Your Affairs When Faced with a Chronic or Terminal Illness
November 10, 2011
We mention often on our blog that each family will have unique circumstances and unique estate planning needs—this is especially true of families in which one member has a chronic or terminal disease such as cancer, diabetes, or, as mentioned in this article in Forbes, multiple sclerosis.
For most people, the documents in their estate plan constitute a “someday” or a “what if” scenario, but for those people with chronic or terminal diseases the documents in their estate plan address issues that are much more immediate and certain. For this reason, the advice in the article mentioned above focuses mainly on doing whatever you can to take control of your estate planning, health care, and financial affairs right now. Some of the suggestions include:
* Finding financial and estate advisors who are comfortable discussing your situation, and can help you customize your plans to fit your needs.
* Customizing your estate planning documents, including your will, trust, or living will.
* Signing important forms right now, while you still can.
* Making use of your temporary or limited powers options in your healthcare and financial documents, giving your chosen agents the limited power while you are temporarily incapacitated to “pay your bills and file your taxes but not sell your house or make gifts of your assets.”
It may also be wise to include provisions to coordinate your estate plan with the possible need to apply for government benefits to help subsidize the cost of care, e.g. Veterans Pension Benefits and/or Medi-Cal for Long Term Care. Qualifying for these benefits often requires that very special steps be taken.
Living with a chronic or terminal disease is a unique situation and requires unique planning and preparation—planning that is best done right away, for the good of your family and for yourself. If you are concerned about these matter, please contact our office—we can help.