Estate planning in light of a serious illness

| Mar 21, 2020 | Estate Planning

We can hardly turn on our phones, computers or TVs without being inundated with information on the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Understandably, people are concerned – especially people over the age of 60 and those with serious chronic medical conditions, as these groups can experience more severe symptoms. 

Undoubtedly, the diagnosis of any severe illness, whether it is COVID-19 or cancer, can be devastating. However, parties can ease some of the stress and uncertainty of this upsetting situation by having a plan in place.

Planning for the unexpected

Just as many people bought extra groceries and hand sanitizer in recent weeks, it’s good to be prepared when you aren’t sure what to expect.

Preparation is also valuable when it comes to making financial, medical and personal plans if you get sick or pass away. Even before something happens, you can establish critical guides for what you want or do not want. 

Direction can come in the form of:

  • Powers of Attorney –  Financial and Medical 
  • Living Wills
  • Advance medical directives
  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Family Discussions 

 Even if you don’t need these protections now, they can be essential in an emergency or if you become incapacitated.

Protecting more than yourself

Even if you are not worried about your own health, we should all consider our impact on others’ well-being. In the current environment, this could mean social distancing and working from home, as these measures could slow the progress of COVID-19 and keep others healthier.

In terms of care and estate planning, you may not care what happens to your property or money when you are gone. You may be fine with letting the courts handle your affairs per state laws. 

But your loved ones may not be okay with these situations. 

Creating an estate plan can give your loved ones reassurance and confidence as they make decisions without you. It can prevent confusion as well as any contentious disputes that can arise when family members disagree about your care or estate administration matters.

A diagnosis of any severe illness can turn a person’s world upside down. However, taking steps to prepare now, and taking into consideration your loved ones’ wishes in addition to your own, can provide a sense of stability and direction when everyone needs it most.