Most of my clients are healthy when they contact me. Estate planning is something in which they are engaging as a precautionary measure rather than because they expect to die within a short amount of time. But not always.
Occasionally, clients contact me after they’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness when emotions are high and death may be imminent. I spoke to three new clients this week, two men and one woman, who were recently diagnosed with cancer. They’ve been told to make final preparations. They need their estate planning done now.
Making important legal and financial decisions while dealing with the shock and grief associated with a diagnosis such as cancer is difficult. Under normal circumstances, people engaging in estate planning can take their time to evaluate their choices and make the best decisions for their families. Those with terminal illnesses are forced to deal with these details when they know their death is near. It can be heartbreaking. It doesn’t have to be that way.
This week, I was contacted by an established client who had gotten her estate planning completed a year ago. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last week. She emailed to ask whether she should give her health care directives to her agent and physicians. She should. She wanted to make sure that her move to another county in Texas would not affect the validity of the Will she signed before she moved. It won’t.
But otherwise, she’s all set. She can focus on her treatment, getting well, and surrounding herself with the people who matter most in her life.
And that is a blessing.