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Estate Planning: What to Do When You or Your Loved One Has a Chronic Illness | Crain & Wooley

Woman with chronic pain

Estate planning is an essential process for everyone, but it becomes even more critical when you or a loved one has a chronic illness. There are many factors to consider and decisions to be made, but with careful planning, you can ensure that your wishes will be carried out and that your loved ones will be protected.

The team at Crain & Wooley shares key concepts to keep in mind when estate planning with a chronic illness.

What is a Chronic Illness, and How Does it Differ From Other Illnesses?

A chronic illness is a health condition that lasts three months or longer and typically cannot be cured. It can include conditions such as:

  • Diabetes;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Arthritis;
  • Heart disease; and,
  • Asthma.

While some chronic illnesses may be managed through treatment and lifestyle modifications, they are often life-long, and their symptoms may fluctuate over time. This can make them different from acute illnesses, which tend to have a rapid onset, short duration, and progressive recovery.

Chronic illnesses affect the physical as well as mental well-being of individuals by causing pain, fatigue, or cognitive difficulties. These persistent symptoms can impede an individual's daily functioning meaning that managing a chronic illness requires ongoing attention and care from both sufferers and medical professionals.

How Can You Prepare Your Estate Plan if You or Your Loved One has a Chronic Illness?

Preparing your estate plan if you or a loved one has a chronic illness is essential to ensure that all important decisions are taken care of in the event of an unexpected change in health status. This can be done by creating legal documents such as a will or trust, designating power of attorney, and setting up medical directives that dictate medical treatment interventions if the individual can no longer make those decisions themselves. Setting up such documents should include consulting with an estate planning lawyer to maximize the protection of the individual's legal and financial rights.

Additionally, it's wise to have family members involved in this process so that they understand the wishes of their loved ones during difficult times. Once established, estate plans must remain current and reflective of changes in an individual's finances, lifestyle, or health trajectory.

You Might Also Like: 5 Costly Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Ready to Create an Estate Plan?

A chronic illness is a long-term health condition that cannot be cured. If you or your loved one has a chronic illness, it's essential to prepare your estate plan accordingly. With professional help from Crain & Wooley you can avoid obstacles down the road. Let our experienced estate planning attorneys help you prepare for the future. Reach out to our dedicated team online or by phone to get started: (972) 945-1610.

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