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What legal aspects should I take care of if I am terminally ill?

Depending on your personal situation, there might be certain aspects which need to be taken care of if you are terminally ill, from writing your last will and testament to planning your funeral service.

answered by Gary Anderson

Writing a will, organizing your finances, and designating a power of attorney are important aspects you should attend to

Planning for your own death is never a pleasant process, especially if you are terminally ill and experience a lot of physical and emotional distress. Mesothelioma, as well as lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure, is often discovered when it is very advanced and does not respond to treatment. Thereby, the number of asbestos victims with terminal cancer is unfortunately quite large. Nevertheless, attending to certain legal matters is absolutely necessary, and sorting out your affairs will greatly help your family.

If you are suffering from a terminal illness due to past asbestos exposure and intend to put your affairs in order, a lawyer can greatly simplify your job. They will promptly take care of most legal aspects for you and will also help you determine whether there are other problems you need to resolve. These are some of the most important issues we advise you to take into consideration when planning for your death:

1. Prepare your last will and testament

This document will state your wishes regarding the guardianship of your children and the property you own, as well as the person you would like to carry out your wishes after your death. While you can choose to write a will by yourself, it is generally not recommended to do so, as numerous errors may occur and your affairs might not be attended to in accordance with your desires. An attorney will carefully check the information you included in the document and will let you know whether it is correctly filled out.

By providing your family with a will, they will be spared of the time-consuming and expensive process known as probate, which can take up to several years to complete until property and custody are figured out. The executor you name should be a trustworthy person who will ensure your estate and finances are managed exactly as you expressed.

2. Choose a durable power of attorney

Designating a power of attorney is always a wise idea, regardless of whether you are terminally ill or not. They will be allowed to take care of your legal and financial matters if you become disabled or incapacitated. You can choose the same person you named executor in your will. However, it is important to keep in mind that your power of attorney will only be able to take care of your affairs while you are alive, hence the importance of writing a will.

3. Write a living will and designate a medical power of attorney

A living will, also known as an advanced health care directive, is a document that outlines your wishes regarding the medical treatment you would like to receive if you become unable to express consent. It will specifically state which medical procedures you would or would not like to go through should you become incapable of speaking. Because a living will not include all known medical procedures and treatments, it is also recommended to name a medical power of attorney who will be legally allowed to choose for you under special circumstances unexpressed in your document.

4. Let your family know about your life insurance policy and retirement plans

Thoroughly organizing your finances, debts, and bills is crucial if you want to help your family cover the cost of your funeral services and pay for your car loans, credit card, or mortgage. If they are not aware these documents and accounts exist, the funds they would otherwise have access to will go to the state. Similarly, if you have multiple debts, it is advisable to organize everything so that your family will have a less difficult time accessing your funds and paying for them.

Were you or a family member diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease? The victims of occupational asbestos exposure are eligible for financial compensation. Our highly experienced attorneys have been providing quality legal representation to people injured by asbestos exposure since 1990 and will do all in their power to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

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