An estate plan is more than just a will. It is a process that helps you review your entire estate, make plans for your own physical and financial well being while also planning for loved ones, both immediately following your passing and, in some cases, well into the future. It provides an opportunity to develop a plan for your own financial future, ease the process of transition after you pass and can set you up to leave a legacy.
What is different about estate planning after a cancer diagnosis?
Estate planning is important for everyone, at any stage in their lives. You will review investments and insurance policies, property ownership and business interests, family heirlooms and retirement accounts. This provides an opportunity to understand your estate and build a roadmap for its future development.
Those who are considering putting together an estate plan after a cancer diagnosis due to exposure to asbestos or other carcinogens will go through this same process but can tailor it to their specific situation. When going through this process, it is helpful to first gather information about your estate, and then put together a team to help you reach your goals. This could include a CPA, investment advisor, insurance consultant and attorney.
It is important to note that cancer will impact every aspect of the planning process. As such, it is best to avoid standard documents. It is best to have everything tailored to your situation. The type and stage of cancer diagnosis will impact your planning strategy.
How can I leave a legacy?
There are various legal tools available when putting together an estate plan. One option is a trust. You can use a trust to guide the use of funds well into the future. This is because you choose an individual(s) or institution to serve as the trustee and manage the account. Regulations are in place that require this trustee to abide by the terms of the trust — terms you put together. Common examples are trusts put together to help fund higher education or to help pay for health and wellness needs of the beneficiary.