October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about this disease and show support for those affected by it. If you or a loved one is battling breast cancer, you know that life can be a rollercoaster of emotions and challenges. Amidst the medical treatments and emotional turmoil, it’s essential to take steps to ensure your estate is in order. Estate planning can provide peace of mind, both for you and your loved ones, during these challenging times.
Review Your Current Estate Plan
If you already have an estate plan in place, it’s time for a thorough review. Your financial situation, family dynamics, and health may have changed since you first created your plan. Consider the following:
- Update your will: Ensure that your will reflects your current wishes, including how you want your assets distributed and who you want to appoint as guardians for any minor children.
- Beneficiary designations: Review the beneficiaries listed on your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other financial assets. Ensure they align with your current wishes.
- Power of attorney: Appoint a trusted individual to manage your financial and medical decisions if you become unable to do so yourself. Consider a durable power of attorney for finances and a healthcare proxy for medical decisions.
Create a Living Will and Advance Healthcare Directive
In the face of a serious illness like breast cancer, it’s essential to make your healthcare preferences known. A living will and advance healthcare directive can guide your medical team and loved ones in making decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to communicate your wishes. This document can outline your preferences for treatments, end-of-life care, and organ donation.
Establish a Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust can be a powerful estate planning tool for individuals dealing with cancer. By transferring your assets into the trust, you can ensure a smooth transition of these assets to your beneficiaries upon your passing. It also avoids the probate process, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
Consider Long-Term Care Planning
Depending on the stage and severity of your breast cancer, you may require long-term care in the future. This care can be financially burdensome. To protect your assets and provide for your care, consider long-term care insurance or Medicaid planning strategies.
Communicate Your Wishes
One of the most critical aspects of estate planning is communication. Talk to your loved ones about your wishes and the decisions you’ve made regarding your estate plan. This open dialogue can prevent confusion and disputes among family members during a difficult time.
Consult with Professionals
Seek the guidance of experienced professionals to ensure your estate plan is well-crafted and legally sound. Consult with an estate planning attorney, a financial advisor, and a tax expert who can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning, especially in light of your health condition.
Breast cancer is a formidable adversary, but careful estate planning can provide you with a sense of control and peace during this challenging journey. By reviewing your existing plan, creating essential documents, and seeking professional advice, you can ensure that your legacy lives on, and your loved ones are provided for according to your wishes. Remember, your strength and resilience in the face of adversity can serve as an inspiration to others during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond.
If you’d like to discuss your specific estate planning needs or have questions about the process, book a consultation today.