3 Easy Steps to Basic Estate Planning.

Basic estate planning is not about cancer. 

We are all going to die. That’s a fact of life. No one is going to live forever. 

And while no one wants to dwell on that fact, I have come to understand that making a plan for your eventual death is simply a way to make it easier for the grieving people you’re leaving behind who will someday have to deal with it. 

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This is about life. The truth is, you could walk outside and get hit by a bus tomorrow. Crazy things happen to people every single day. 

You should have a plan for everything (including death) so that the people who need to execute it can do so as easily as possible. Basic estate planning is having a plan that just makes it easier for your loved ones to know about and execute your wishes when the time comes.

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I know at least 3 people right now who have recently lost someone they love and are dealing with a TON of extra stress trying to sort out and handle their loved one’s affairs. And this nightmare could have all been avoided with a little bit of prep. 

This isn’t just for people who have been diagnosed with cancer.  Cancer patients, family members, caregivers… EVERY ADULT should have a plan mapped out indicating what needs to be handled if the inevitable happens.

The goal is to make this difficult time as easy as possible for the people you love.   

3 Easy Steps to Basic Estate Planning

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 Complete a Health Care Proxy and Living Will

TruthBomb:  Things change pretty rapidly in cancer and in life.  Who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf should they need to?

Make sure you complete a health care proxy and have it on file at each of your doctors offices. 

It basically outlines your wishes regarding health care and allows you to make some of the harder decisions now so someone else doesn’t have to if they ever come up.

Things like…

  • Do you want a do not resuscitate order?
  • Or, do you want medical staff to take emergency measures to save you?  (Like in the event that you stop breathing.)
  • Do you want to be an organ donor? 
  • What if you’re living in constant pain?  You can stipulate how you want that handled.  

A Health Care Proxy is just a quick overview of how you want to handle medical situations and who should make those decisions for you in the event that you can’t.   It’s an essential piece of basic estate planning.

 You can grab a free health care proxy based on your state here…

 Create a Life Transition Plan

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When my dad was first diagnosed with Lung Cancer he created a document that he updated as needed and eventually gave to me called his Life Transition Plan.  

This document included everything I would need to know about and “deal with” (or help my mom deal with) when the time came.  

My dad was a commander, so the Life Transition plan included everything.  

He laid out all of the plans for his funeral.  Who would preside, the music and readings he wanted, which funeral home to contact, where he wanted to be buried.  Everything. 

Note:  He later met with the funeral home and the church and planned the service and the reception right down to the very last detail.  When the time came for the worst day of our lives, the entire day was planned out for us.  Totally taken care of.

The Life Transition Plan also included…

  • Bank accounts (and how to help my mom access on-line banking)
  • Bills (how to find and pay them)
  • Documents (how to find them and what they were for)
  • Vehicles and Registrations
  • Deeds and Titles (where to find them)
  • Possessions (things he wanted to be left to certain people)
  • Firearms (how to legally deal with them after a loss)
  • Clothing
  • Donations (money or possession donations that were important to him)
  • Retirement, SSI, or pension information (how to collect these, forms needed)

Other things that may be included…

  • Name a guardians for any children
  • Wishes for your children’s care
  • Life Insurance

Everything my parents had, and how to deal with it, or help my mom deal with it when the time came.  

When my dad passed, everything we needed was totally planned out and prepared for us.  Aside from the grief, we were able to get everything situated for my mom with as little stress as possible.  Because we had done some basic estate planning and had a roadmap for this situation.

When the time comes, the grief is overwhelming and there is literally no way to make that part easier.  

The last thing you need in the midst of the grief is to try to figure out how to deal with all of this “stuff” and get everything sorted out when you have no idea what’s what.

The Life Transition Plan is essentially a road map to anything that your loved one needs to know or deal with when the time comes.

 Make a Will 

I have an aunt who was one of the strongest and amazing women I have ever met. At 70 years old, she still looked like she was fifty and she moved like it too. She never put anything in place for her death. She always just operated under the idea that the “kids will handle it when I am gone.” 

The kids did handle it.

But, it cost them a ton of money and a ton of extra stress that could have totally been avoided with one notarized piece of paper. If you don’t put these things in place and you are in a car accident tomorrow, the people who love you most are going to have triple the stress trying to deal with your affairs. 

Start with Freewill.com

This is a totally free will that has been rated EXCELLENT and is featured and recommended by some pretty big names… Forbes, AARP, The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire. 

It takes less than a half hour to fill out the form online (which walks you through everything you need to include) and then you print it and you and your witnesses both sign. That’s it. And it is 100% free.

P.S. The form also makes sure your fur babies are taken care of. 🙂

You can check out Freewill.com here… 

Additional Resources

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Freewill.com also has the option of creating the forms you need to bring to an attorney if you have a large estate, complicated family dynamics, or special circumstances.  The ability to create the forms yourself could save you time and money.

Freewill.com also offers… 

Advance Health Care Directive Forms- As we outlined above, so you can Identify your wishes for end of life care should that become necessary and identify who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable. 

Durable Financial Power of Attorney- allows you to appoint someone to manage your finances for you if you ever become unable to yourself. This person could provide for your family’s ongoing expenses, handle medical bills and insurance, and pay taxes. 

Death is a part of life.  Basic estate planning and mapping out what needs to be dealt with is the best way to protect your family from a ton of additional stress and anxiety when your loved ones find themselves in the middle of the worst day of their lives.

For more information, You can find a complete guide to Defining Your Legacy from the American Cancer Society here…

P.S. If you have no idea how to deal with a cancer diagnosis, we can help you formulate a plan to SIMPLIFY the complex “stuff” that comes with this disease…  Finding the best care, talking with your insurance company, finding resources that will actually help, and dealing with the fear, anxiety and overwhelm of this whole situation.

We can’t control the cancer, but we CAN show you how to manage this crisis.   And it’s 100% Free.

You can get the Cancer Combat Plan FREE here…

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