When your parent or loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma
, it can take everything in you just to cope with the day-to-day medical appointments and health care needs.
Then there are the financial strains on your family and the looming concerns of what’s to come.
As difficult as it may seem, it is important that you take the time to discuss your loved one’s wishes for end-of-life care and estate planning
Making such important decisions now will
allow you and your loved one to take some control over what happens in the future, rather than leaving important decisions for your family members or in the hands of a judge.
You should also know that financial relief is available for many mesothelioma patients and their families.
Contact us now to learn about your family’s options for pursuing compensation for the harm you have suffered due to this devastating asbestos disease
Your Estate Planning Checklist
There are several steps you should take to help your loved one get his or her affairs in order.
In many cases, patients
have already taken some of the steps, but it has been years since they reviewed their documents.
It is important that even if your parent or loved one has an estate plan, you review it to ensure it is up to date and you understand their wishes.
Some of the questions you should ask about estate planning include:
Questions & Answers
Have you discussed the option of setting up trusts?
Setting up a trust
is a common way to protect a person’s assets from going through the probate court process. Many patients
also choose to establish a “living trust
,” which allows them access to their assets but also names a “trustee” to handle the trust
after their death.
Does the mesothelioma patient have a will?
Often called a last will
and testament, your loved one’s will
should give details on how assets should be distributed and who will
care for any minor children.
It should name an executor of the will
, and it may contain other specific details on how your loved one wants the estate
to be handled.
If your loved one dies without having a will
in place, all the decisions about the estate
and minor children will
be made by the court. Your state
’s “intestate succession
” law will
dictate the estate heirs
, rather than your loved one getting to choose.
Have you considered what taxes may apply to your loved one’s estate?
Although most people’s estates
do not reach the threshold for paying the federal estate
tax, you may need to plan for estate
tax or inheritance
taxes in your state
. Mesothelioma settlements are not taxed as income, but may be subject to estate
Does your loved one have a health care proxy and end of life directive in place?
The thought of mesothelioma
leaving your loved one incapacitated is frightening, but it can bring a sense of relief to know what your loved one would want in case this happens.
You should talk to your parent about his or her wishes for medical care, including the use of “extraordinary measures” to sustain life. Your loved one should designate a health care
surrogate, which gives medical power of attorney
or health care
proxy to someone who can make important decisions in case the patient
can no longer communicate.
Your loved one should also complete a living will
, advance directive
, or personal directive
what should happen at the end of life.
Have you talked about making final arrangements?
This is one of the most difficult topics to discuss. However, it is important that you know what the mesothelioma patient
wants and what to expect financially. Decisions about funeral costs, cremation and organ donation can weigh heavy on a family, but making plans
in advance can ease some of that burden when the time comes.
Does the mesothelioma patient have a power of attorney?
In addition to decisions about health care
, your loved one will
need to decide how finances and legal affairs should be handled in case he or she becomes incapacitated. This means designating a trusted person to have power of attorney
Your family may also discuss the option of adding a trusted individual’s name to bank accounts and other assets. In addition, the patient
may want to designate beneficiaries or update beneficiaries on retirement
accounts, life insurance
policies, stocks and bonds, and certificates of deposit. Decisions should also be made about succession in any family businesses.
Do you know where all the important documents are?
Gather all the important estate planning documents
and keep them together in a safe place. This includes your loved one’s will
, advance directive
, life insurance documents
, financial statements, retirement
account information, and any other relevant information. Even if your loved one worked with an attorney
to create a will
, do not assume that the attorney has all the necessary estate planning documents
Need Help with Estate Planning?
The costs associated with caring for a person diagnosed with mesothelioma
can leave a family stretched thin. It can be difficult to think about planning for the future when you’re just trying to get through today. However, making a plan
for your loved one’s estate will
take some of the burden off your family and it will
ensure your parent or loved one’s wishes are honored. We can help advise you on estate planning
and can also recommend specialists in estate planning
If your family is coping with a mesothelioma
diagnosis, you should know that you may be entitled to compensation from the asbestos
companies that put your loved one’s health in jeopardy. Contact us today to discuss how we can help take the financial pressure off you.