Little is more overwhelming than finding out you or someone you love is terminally ill. However, when faced with life’s final journey, covering some critical details can provide peace of mind, both for the dying and for those who must carry on. Read on for information that can help you forge a pathway during this most difficult time.

 

Add Financial Security

On top of the emotional distress that accompanies a terminal illness, many people find themselves in financial upheaval. There can be substantial medical expenses involved, and it’s not unusual for families to face mortgages, credit card debt, and other lingering obligations. And as much as we hate to dwell on it, there will also be funeral expenses. The average cost of a funeral in the United States is roughly $9,000, so finding ways to finance your burial, as well as any services you wish to have, could relieve your family of a significant burden, allowing them the room to grieve.

This is also a good time to discuss personal particulars relating to services, memorials, and preferences. Sometimes, people have very specific requests, which you can delineate in a letter of last instructions. Also, consider including things like contact information for various insurance policies, Retirement account data, safe deposit box information, passwords for online accounts, marriage certificates and divorce decrees, and bank account information.

Note that shared bank accounts will automatically fall to the surviving party, which alleviates one worry for many people. Similarly, many banks allow account holders to designate beneficiaries.

 

Putting Things in Order

You’ve probably heard the expression “putting affairs in order,” and you might have even been told to do so at this time. While it’s a common expression, it can seem vague, especially when you’re the one in crisis. This generally means putting legal documentation in place that ensures property, funds, and decision-making are secure.

 

Last Will and Testament

The legal document people are most familiar with is a last will and testament. This document addresses how the terminally ill person’s estate will be distributed. There are several legal requirements surrounding a will, and while there are online templates you can use to create one, it’s in everyone’s best interests to meet with an estate planning attorney to ensure the document is legally binding and accurate.

 

Living Will

People are often confused by the terms “living will” and “last will and testament,” but as the Balance explains, the terms address entirely different situations. A last will and testament comes into play after death, while a living will determine what medical procedures you would like to sustain life if you become unable to make those decisions for yourself. A living will specifically directs what medical personnel are allowed to do.

 

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal designation of who can make decisions on your behalf; you decide how broad or limited the decisions will be. This can pertain to particular accounts, properties, types of decisions, and so forth. You still retain the right to control your funds and properties, but it ensures someone else can address things like paying bills from your checking account if you should have a time when you are unable to do so.

 

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney is similar to a power of attorney, but it relates specifically to health-care-related decisions. Contrary to a living will, medical power of attorney gives decision-making to a designated person, and in this way, it is more flexible than a living will.

A terminal diagnosis is devastating news. For the sake of yourself and loved ones, make sure affairs are in order, and that family members have financial security. Addressing important details can help provide guidance and comfort during this trying time.

Photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-holding-hands-1773113/

Craig Meadows is the creator of Surviving Day One, a site he created to offer support to anyone going through a traumatic or difficult experience.

Thanks Craig!

For more information about caring for your aging parents, please consider downloading my course, Caring for Your Aging Parents, from Teachable.com. It takes a couple of hours, and you can just hit play and listen while you go about other business.

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Originally Published on https://www.aboutagingparents.com/

Kathy Quan Blogger & Author

Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN is an award-winning blogger and author. She has been an RN for over 30 years. Most of those years have been spent in home health care and hospice where she has worked as a field nurse, a nursing supervisor, branch manager and in quality improvement. Today she works part time in hospice as a Quality Improvement specialist.

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