Estate planning is all about preparing for death, so it’s natural for people who learn that they are dying to reach out to an estate planning attorney for help. Many such people learn that they have a terminal or incurable disease, and need to make their final arrangements quickly. While creating an estate plan under these kinds of time pressures can be done, it’s always best to plan as far ahead as possible.
If you have recently learned that you are dying, you should contact an estate planning attorney at your first opportunity. Until then, here are some issues you should know about creating an estate plan when you’re dying.
Estate Plans for the Dying. What should I do about my finances?
If you should become sick, who will manage your property for you? Who will pay your bills, take care of your home, or manage your property after you die until the proper inheritors can be identified? And speaking of inheritors, what kind of inheritances do you want to leave? Who do you want to inherit from your estate?
A good estate plan will allow you to address each of these issues in detail. A durable power of attorney for finances will give you the ability to choose someone who will manage your finances when you cannot, while an inheritance plan will allow you to make your inheritance choices known.
Estate Plans for the Dying. What about my medical care?
Another common concern that people who are dying have surrounds health care choices. If you’re suffering from a terminal illness that might render you incapacitated, how can you be sure your medical wishes will be respected? Who will make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to?
The answer to these issues lies with advance directives. Also known as medical directives, these documents allow you to make your healthcare decisions known. When made in advance of losing your capacity to make choices, advance directives allow you to make specific health care decisions, as well as allow you to name someone who will make those choices for you.
Estate Plans for the Dying. What else do I need to do?
There are a host of issues you might need to think about if you learn that you are dying. For example, if you have a minor child in your care, you will need to make sure that the child will be financially protected, as well as make sure that the child will have an appropriate guardian after you are gone. Naming an executor to manage your estate, making your funeral choices, and many other important issues will all need to be answered when you learn that you are dying.