There are many decisions one has to make after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Whether you’re still working for a company, self-employed, or retired, it’s a lot to digest. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure you and your loved ones are taken care of. Today, Brinkley Walser Stoner is here to help walk you through this difficult process.
Plan Your Estate
Estate planning involves creating a guideline for how you want your assets to be handled after death, including who inherits from you. Without a plan in place, usually in the form of a will, the state will decide what happens to assets such as property, belongings, and finances. Your will should be legally valid and updated to reflect life changes, such as divorce or the birth of new children, and any dependents, such as children under the age of 18, should have a willing and able guardian appointed to take custody after you are gone. A will does not take precedence over retirement and life insurance accounts, so make sure you update those accounts with an accurate list of beneficiaries.
Maintain Your Finances
During such a hectic time, it may be in your best interest to delegate management of your finances to a power of attorney. You can choose exactly what accounts or transactions your financial POA will handle, such as continuing to pay premiums on your life insurance policy to ensure there is no lapse in coverage. It may also be useful for your financial POA to have an inventory of your assets, account numbers, and passwords so that there are no issues in maintaining your finances.
If medical bills are becoming difficult to afford, you can free up money by refinancing your home. You may be able to lessen monthly mortgage payments, lower your interest rate, or shorten your term. However, speak with a financial planner before moving forward to ensure refinancing works for your situation.
Decide Your Medical Care
A living will can help you communicate what type of care you wish to receive towards the end of your life, including DNR orders or palliative care requests in order to manage end-of-life pain. This document is integral in situations where you can no longer articulate what you want. You may also elect to appoint a durable power of attorney for health care who will honor your living will and implement medical treatment as requested.
Make Funeral Arrangements
According to research, only 26% of Americans discuss funeral arrangements ahead of time, but proper preparation can alleviate the sense of urgency for your loved ones. Whether you want to be buried, cremated, or donated to science, decide how you want your body to be handled post-mortem and, if possible, set aside finances to cover the cost of the funeral to spare your family the financial burden.
Enjoy Your Last Days
Dying doesn’t have to be morbid. In some ways, this can be an opportunity to tackle your bucket list with your loved ones by your side. After your arrangements are in order, take some time to see the world or seek out thrills you were too scared to do before, such as skydiving or bungee jumping. Even if you wish to spend your final months in peace after making the necessary arrangements, spending quality time with loved ones will ease the pain of loss.
Reconciling with a terminal diagnosis is never easy, but knowing how to cover your bases will make this transition less difficult. Take things step by step and allow friends and family to help you during this trying time. Reach out to Brinkley Walser Stoner to safeguard your legacy. Call (336) 249-2101.