A cancer diagnosis resulting from asbestos exposure affects the life of the patient and their loved ones. Once you address your health needs, it is important to update or create an estate plan. Two of the biggest reasons to have an estate plan are 1) having the opportunity to get everything in order and 2) to make sure loved ones are aware of and have the ability to honor your wishes regarding future healthcare.
Reason #1: An excuse to get everything in order.
We rarely take the time to step back and look at our estate while going about our daily lives, let alone put the effort into properly organizing it. Our estate is likely larger than we realize. It includes more than just our property, bank accounts and family heirlooms. It also includes insurance policies, retirement accounts and may even include business interests. Take a moment to list out all of these assets so you know exactly what is included in your estate.
In many cases, assets automatically transfer to a beneficiary you previously designated. Financial institutions often include this designation within a form you complete when setting up a bank account or insurance policy. Within this paperwork there is often a spot to list who has access to the account or policy once you are gone. This allows for transfer without a will. It is important to review and update this designation regularly to help make sure it goes to the person you want to receive the account or policy benefits. A will or trust can be used to handle the transfer of other assets as needed.
Reason #2: An opportunity to make sure your healthcare wishes are clear.
You can have control over your healthcare, even when you are incapacitated. The exact document will depend on the state in which you live. Some use a durable power of attorney, others a health care proxy or living will. Whatever name the state chooses, these types of legal documents allow you to give another person the power to make medical decisions upon your behalf in the event you cannot communicate these wishes with healthcare providers.
There are many reasons beyond these two as to why you should have an estate plan no matter your age or level of wealth.