Dealing With A Terminal Illness Diagnosis: Talk With An Estate Planning Attorney

5 January 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog


If you have recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness and you don't have a will in place, take the time to sit with an estate planning attorney so your loved ones don't lose what you have. If you have things you want to leave behind to the people that cared about you, you need to have it in writing so it doesn't go to the state or get taken.

Your family can end up fighting if something happens to you and each person feels entitled to make the decisions. You want to have the terms of your death decided and arranged, and you want to have all of the paperwork organized. Here are a few things you'll want to do with your lawyer.

Bring All Financial Documents

For your lawyer to properly detail an estate plan and handle issues if you pass, they need to include all financial documents. This includes all of your mortgage, credit card or other bills, life insurance policies, savings accounts, investment accounts and 401k plans and more. Every asset that you own should be accounted for, even a recreational toy or vehicle.

Pick a Will Executor

You have to pick someone to be the executor of your will, or of your estate, or the state will pick one for you. The person who performs this job will get compensation, and they will work with your attorney to get your estate settled. Picking someone in advance prevents your family from fighting over who gets to do it. If someone can't get approved to be an administrator of the estate, then the courts can take over the estate.

Plan Your Final Arrangements

The will shouldn't only include what happens with money or assets that you have, but you should detail how you want to be remembered, and what type of service you will have, if any. If you don't want an elaborate funeral, or you don't want to be cremated, these are things you can state in your will. You can even pick out a cemetery plot or pay for the funeral in advance if you want.

It's always best to be prepared, but you especially want to take action if you have been told you have an illness that could cut your life short at any time. Talk with an estate lawyer from a firm like The Cohen Law Offices so you can feel confident that all of your matters will be settled if something happens.