When you’re terminally ill, it takes courage and prudence to decide certain aspects of your life and family.
Taking measures about your own irreversible health condition sounds cruel, but being a responsible person, you should do it.
You won’t be there with your lovely family after death, so considering some legal factors may help them survive in many aspects.
In this article, we’ve shared six undeniable legal factors to consider when you’re terminally ill. The factors will cover insurance, living will, last will, retirement plans, etc.
So, read through the legal factors below.
1. Prepare a Living Will
A living will, otherwise known as an advance directive, ensures a person’s right to medical treatment as he’s terminally ill or in a vegetative state like a coma.
Different states in the US have various terms and requirements for this legal healthcare process. Like living wills in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, California, etc., might have the same requirement for the number of witnesses (two, at least).
However, in some states, the required age of the witness must be at least 19, whereas some ensure one of the two witnesses mustn’t be the spouse or blood relative.
A legally written living will enable you to communicate with your healthcare professionals to provide you with your desired medication in your vegetative state. Some states also allow a person to nominate a medical power of attorney to finalize the specific medical procedures, given you cannot speak or express your wish for certain decisions before dying.
2. Make Your Last Will and Testament
The second thing we must relate as an essential legal factor when terminally ill is the last will and testament.
The last will and testament entail an executor with authority to manage and disburse your assets among your nominated people after your death. This executor has to be someone trustworthy and authorized by you in the last will.
The goal of your last will is to ensure the guardianship of your children and spouse along with your owned property.
Preparing the last will in advance is considered wise since it’ll save your loved ones from the hectic probate (an after-death time-consuming process), which sometimes takes several years to finalize your property’s custody.
3. Check Retirement Plans and Life Insurance
When critically ill, you must organize your financial aspects to spare your family members the hassle.
Get your retirement plans, insurance policies, liability insurance, finances, bills, debts, etc., covered so your spouse and children don’t have to take the burden.
Besides, letting your family know about your remaining valuable assets and their legal documents will help them for an authorized claim when you’re dead. Otherwise, everything untraced is likely to go to the state.
Access to your funds will enable your family to pay off your debts after your death.
4. Choose Power of Attorney
You mustn’t fail to choose your power of attorney in terms of your last will or living will. It’s vital since a power of attorney can handle your financial and legal matters efficiently when you cannot deal with them health-wise.
But remember, a power of attorney is invalid once you’re dead. That’s why you’ll also need to designate a person as your executor or representative to handle the legal matters when you’re gone.
Thus writing your last will is very important, so the executor can consult it to run the procedures as you desired when alive.
However, unlike general power of attorney, a durable power of attorney can still handle your legal and financial matters when you cannot speak or make your decisions.
5. Check Your Prenuptial Agreement
No matter how old you are, being terminally ill leaves you with your spouse’s responsibility. It holds you even more responsible for the prospect of your end-of-life looming.
Nevertheless, take the prenup you both have signed before marriage under consideration before making your wills. It’s crucial because your prenup and last will mustn’t contradict specific terms you both agreed upon before.
To spare your life partner from the legal hassles when you’re not there, go through the prenup terms, check the financial agreements (assets and liabilities), and then instruct your lawyer to prepare the last will and testament accordingly.
6. Hospice Care Laws and Regulations
A philosophical and somewhat holistic approach to advanced medical healthcare is hospice care. It will uplift the quality of your life health-wise and spiritually.
Senior care, disabled or terminally ill people may fall under hospice.
However, Hospice care allows a terminally ill person to have a better meaning of life when it lasts even for a few months. It lets a disabled person choose their lifestyle along with the medical treatment provided by the hospital or nursing home.
Hospice care further allows a person at health peril to choose people they want to be around in the remaining days of life. Yes, it will enable you to be treated at your home while being with the people you love.
However, hospice care is carried out following specific laws and regulations. Consult your lawyer to know more in-depth about the regulatory requirements of hospice care.
Besides, let your family members know about your desire so that they can support you in this.
So, these are the six legal factors you may contemplate when you know you’re terminally ill. The critical condition of your health shouldn’t allow you to be depressed.
We know it’s hard, but you must bring yourself to be even more responsible for yourself and your loved ones.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a lawyer to get the legal documents done, as mentioned in this article. Try your best to work on your resolute while legitimately settling matters before being totally incapacitated.