When a loved one receives a diagnosis of a terminal illness, such as metastatic cancer, the emotional impact is often considerable. As you attempt to help family members and the ill loved one to adjust to this new reality, the question of estate planning may come to the forefront of family discussions.
State Farm notes that those who forego estate planning and die intestate, or without a will in place, have their assets distributed according to state law. Making a plan with your loved one as soon as possible and considering a few important factors can put you and your family back in control, providing everyone involved with greater peace of mind.
1. Choosing a power of attorney
As your loved one’s health declines, so might his or her ability to make rational decisions regarding health or finances. Choosing someone to take on the power of attorney can prevent the consequences of choices made under the influence of powerful medications or mental decline. Taking this step may make other choices regarding your loved one’s needs somewhat easier to handle.
2. The speed of the terminal illness
Once a doctor diagnoses a terminal illness, you may have limited or even a very brief time in which to estate plan. While the timeline of some illnesses is not always simple to predict, beginning the estate planning process as soon as you can allows you to fulfill as many of your loved one’s wishes as possible.
3. The size of the individual’s estate
Estate size can make a significant impact on the difficulty of your planning needs. Consider the assets carefully before you move forward with documentation.
You may also ask your loved one about his or her final wishes, such as a preferred burial location, so you may assist with updating any existing will.