When you receive a terminal illness diagnosis, it can be overwhelming and incredibly stressful. You’re likely trying to cope with the news itself, and deal with the inevitability of death.
It doesn’t matter if it’s you or your loved one. Receiving a diagnosis of terminal illness within the family leads to grief. Everyone is affected by it, and have to cope with the stress of knowing that illness is incurable.
Moreover, there’s financial aspect of illness to worry about. You may be worried about how you will afford to pay for treatments and medications. At some point, you or your loved one might need hospice care as their illness progresses.
It can be difficult to know what you need to do in terms of preparing for death, but one area that cannot be ignored is how financially prepared you are. You might be wondering how you can prepare for this financially. What steps should be taken? How do you handle your debts and assets?
Rest assured, it is possible to prepare yourself financially to cope with the situation ahead of time. This way, it’s done and over with instead of something that will constantly worry you.
Know Which Resources are Available to You
One of the most important things to do is understand which resources are available to you. There are many government programs that can provide assistance, depending on your financial situation. There are also certain organizations that provide aid to families that are struggling with an illness.
The first place you should look into is your medical insurance coverage. See what benefits you have at this point in time. If possible, see if there are any programs or services that can help you stretch your medical benefits even further. Perhaps there are some services that can help you pay for medications or treatments not covered by insurance.
Speak to an Accountant
An accountant will help you figure out what you owe and what you own. He or she will also help you see if there are any tax deductions that can be used as benefits to lessen the financial impact of your terminal illness.
This might include tax-deductible medical expenses such as doctor’s visits, medications dispensed by a doctor, and health insurance premiums.
Speak to a Financial Professional
Aside from an accountant, this could include your bank manager or financial advisor. They have the experience to know what you should do with your life insurance policies, savings accounts, investments, and other valuable assets.
As much as possible, try to minimize monthly expenses like mortgage and credit card payments. This way, you will not need to worry about how you can pay for them when your illness progresses and ends up taking a financial toll on you.
A financial professional can offer advice about these things. They can also provide suggestions on how to prepare for the future and sort out your finances.
Speak to Your Lawyer
Your lawyer can help you in preparing a living will and other legal documents.
Living wills ensure that your end-of-life medical decisions are followed based on what you want to happen in the event of an illness or accident that causes you to be incapable of making such medical decisions for yourself.
A lawyer can also help create advanced healthcare directives and durable power of attorney so your loved ones can handle certain aspects of your financial and health care needs when you cannot anymore. This way, they won’t have to feel so overwhelmed by everything happening around them at this point in time.
You should also prepare a will that states who you would like to receive your assets and how you want them handled. The person named as the executor of this document will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.
You might want to research what bills and mortgages need to be paid after death. Make sure you know who is responsible for paying these: yourself, or another person (such as an adult child). Sometimes it’s also beneficial to speak with someone at the Social Security office since they can provide information about benefits that could replace lost income from retirement funds or life insurance policies.
Lastly—and perhaps most importantly of all—you need to understand that your financial situation is completely different from what it used to be. You cannot claim that you are still the same person who last year had a full-time job and never dealt with issues involving death until now.
In some way, you have already changed because of this illness. Don’t forget to take time for yourself and reflect on how far you’ve come since receiving the diagnosis.
It is difficult to deal with death within the family, but people have to figure out their finances before they pass to unburden those who will be left behind. It may not be easy to do, but dealing with this issue sooner rather than later will help your loved ones feel at peace knowing that you have taken care of everything.