Numerous people in California and across the country live with chronic illness. For some, the illness may not be obvious to the naked eye, and for others, they may have obvious factors in their lives that make their illness known, such as needing a wheelchair, breathing assistance or other medical equipment. No matter the case, chronic illness can seriously affect these individuals’ lives, and if you are one of them, you understand this better than most.
The ways in which your illness affects your life differ from someone else living with chronic illness, even if you both have the same condition. As a result, you know that your life can take twists and turns that someone else’s may not, and that it is important for you to consider the possibilities of where your life may lead. This may have led you to consider estate planning.
Specific helpful documents
As someone living with a chronic illness, certain estate planning documents may be of particular benefit to you. Because only you know exactly how your illness affects you, only you have the ability to decide which planning documents could best suit your needs. However, some documents that you may wish to consider using in an estate plan include:
Living will: A living will a document that allows you to detail your health care wishes, which could be useful in the event that you cannot verbally express your wishes yourself. You could create this document with specific instructions that relate to your particular illness.
HIPAA release form: Medical professionals are bound by law to keep your personal and medical information private. Creating a HIPAA release form could ensure that the person or people you deem appropriate can access that information if needed.
Power of attorney: You could create a power of attorney document for both your financial and health care decisions. One person could be named to both roles, or you could name separate individuals to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you cannot express your wishes.
Trust: You may also want to consider creating a trust as a way to ensure the distribution of your assets as you wish in the event of your passing, and it could also help ensure that someone trustworthy could manage your assets as needed, particularly if you create a revocable trust.
Just as your chronic illness is unique to your life, your estate plan can be unique to your specific needs. Gaining more information on these and other planning tools may help you create a plan with which you feel comfortable and confident.