Organizing your estate after a terminal diagnosis

If there is one thing that is practically guaranteed in life, it’s that there is no way to predict when you’ll get hurt, fall ill or pass away. For that reason, it’s important to have an estate plan in place.

Terminal illnesses create an immediate need to start an estate plan if you don’t already have one. Once you know that you’re unwell with an illness that is likely to result in your death, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as possible to get started on your will and estate plan.

When you’re terminally ill, your will is a necessity

The first step is to make sure you know the probate procedures in the state where you live. You should understand which steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of your estate going into probate, which can be costly and time-intensive for your family and loved ones. Your attorney can help you set up trusts and a will to help avoid probate and reduce the stress your family has to go through after you are gone.

Set up your health care power of attorney immediately

Another priority to take care of right away is to set up a health care power of attorney. You need to select another person you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can no longer make them on your own. You should make sure you have a health care proxy in place and sign a HIPAA waiver for your agent, so they can get your health information and work with doctors on your care.

Make your wishes known

The most important thing you can do right now to protect your estate is to make your wishes known to those you love. If there is any risk of a dispute over your property or trouble with your estate, talk to your family and friends about what you want. You still have time to plan and have those discussions, so it’s a good idea to make sure that everyone hears what you have to say. Be clear in your decisions, so there is no question as to what you want to happen now and in the future.