Cancer is a word that can strike fear into anyone’s heart. When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer and hasn’t yet addressed their estate planning, it can be a challenging situation to navigate. While it’s a difficult topic to broach, taking proactive steps can help ensure their wishes are honored, their assets are protected, and their loved ones are provided for in the future. In this blog, we’ll explore what you can do if a loved one has cancer and hasn’t created an estate plan.
Initiate a Compassionate Conversation
Start by having an open and empathetic conversation with your loved one. Approach the topic of estate planning with care and sensitivity. Explain that this isn’t about focusing on the negative but rather about ensuring their peace of mind and the well-being of their family.
If your loved one agrees to proceed, gather essential information such as:
A. A list of assets: Compile a list of their financial accounts, properties, investments, and insurance policies.
B. Debts and obligations: Document any outstanding debts, loans, or obligations they may have.
C. Family and beneficiaries: Make a list of family members and other individuals they’d like to include in their estate plan, along with their contact information.
D. Healthcare decisions: Discuss their preferences regarding medical treatments and end-of-life care, and document these wishes.
Consult an Attorney
Hiring an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial in this situation. They can guide you and your loved one through the process, ensuring that all legal requirements are met.
Establish a Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney (POA) allows your loved one to appoint someone to make financial and legal decisions on their behalf if they become unable to do so. This can be a trusted family member or friend.
Create a Healthcare Proxy
A healthcare proxy, also known as a medical power of attorney, empowers a designated person to make medical decisions on behalf of your loved one if they cannot. Discuss their medical preferences and ensure the chosen proxy is aware of their wishes.
Draft a Will
A will is a legal document that outlines how your loved one’s assets will be distributed after their passing. It can also designate guardians for minor children if applicable. Work with the attorney to draft a comprehensive will that aligns with their wishes.
Explore Trust Options
Depending on your loved one’s financial situation and goals, they may benefit from creating a trust. A trust can help avoid probate, provide for specific needs of beneficiaries, and offer more privacy. Your attorney can advise on the most suitable type of trust for your loved one’s circumstances.
Review and Update Beneficiary Designations
Encourage your loved one to review and update beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets to ensure they align with their current wishes.
Facing cancer is undoubtedly daunting, but addressing estate planning during this challenging time is essential. It ensures that your loved one’s wishes are respected, their assets are protected, and their family is provided for in the future. Don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of professionals who specialize in estate planning to navigate this process smoothly. By taking these steps, you can help your loved one find peace of mind and concentrate on their health and well-being during this difficult journey. Book a consultation today.