When you are in poor health, you should begin your estate planning as soon as possible. Having a plan in place provides peace of mind even when you are not feeling well. There are a few estate planning structures in particular that can help people who expect medical issues in the future.
Need for Advance Medical Directive
California has a document called an advance health care directive that combines a living will and a power of attorney for health care. Because you are sick, you may have heard from a patient advocate or relative about signing an advance directive already.
If you have particular end-of-life wishes or want someone besides your spouse or relatives to advocate for you in the hospital, you may want an advance directive. This document prevents the situation when one relative wants to make a medical decision for an incapacitated patient, but another relative is strongly against it.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Many people with illnesses that could get worse decide to purchase long-term care insurance. This special insurance product pays for the costs associated with long-term care. Often these costs are not covered by normal health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Further, the costs can be large and last for years. If you are interested in long-term care insurance, talk to insurers sooner rather than later. Some companies may not sell coverage to people with severe pre-existing conditions.
People living with long-term illnesses may want to make gifts to caretakers and loved ones. Making a will is a great way to do that. You can specify a money gift to a caretaker or set aside a portion of your estate for him or her. Note that you do not need to visit a lawyer’s office in person to make a will. In many cases you can sign the will and have it witnessed at your home or care facility.
If you already have life insurance, now is the time to check your beneficiary designation and make sure it will go to the right person. If you are considering life insurance, check the policy’s pre-existing condition and medical exam requirements first.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.