Estate Planning For Chronic Illness

The diagnosis of a chronic illness is often a major life-altering event. Your estate plan may help ease some of the burdens you and your loved ones will face as you continue living with a chronic condition. Although the effects of a chronic illness can be complicated and overwhelming, a recent article in Forbes provides a helpful list of legal documents that may be beneficial in managing your affairs throughout the course of your condition. These include:

  1. HIPAA Release: With a HIPAA release, you can elect to share your protected health information (PHI) with specific individuals for the purpose of managing your care if necessary.

  2. Living Will: This document clarifies your wishes for end-of-life medical care in the event that you become unable to communicate those wishes.

  3. Health Care Power of Attorney: This type of POA allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapable of doing so.

  4. Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment: A POLST can be completed with the help of a health care provider and, much like a living will, is utilized to express your wishes for end-of-life medical care.

  5. Financial Power of Attorney: The financial POA allows you to appoint someone to manage your financial, accounting, and other personal needs on your behalf, and can limit when and how such power can be exercised by that individual.

  6. Revocable Trust: A revocable trust can be utilized to manage your assets throughout the course of your chronic illness, possibly providing protections and oversight in the event that you become incapacitated at any point.

If you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition, it may be a good idea to get ahead of your estate plan so that protections and precautions are in place should they become necessary.