No one ever wants to hear the words “terminal cancer” in their diagnosis. However, each year, nearly 8 million people are hearing just that. If you are dealing with a terminal cancer diagnosis yourself, here are some ways to deal with the impending costs:
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Death
Facing your own mortality is not a simple task. Asking your friends and loved ones to face the truth can be even harder. However, if you want to protect your loved ones you have to begin having conversations now, including talking about your final expenses. Final expense insurance can offer some peace of mind to you during this difficult journey by covering expenses related to funeral costs, medical bills, and legal fees. That little bit of extra coverage can be priceless when it comes to protecting your family from handling those costs on their own.
Check on Your Life Insurance Coverage
Investing in final expense insurance is a good way to add financial protection for your family. To cover other expenses, such as leftover credit card bills and other debts, however, you will want
to take a look at any life insurance coverage you currently have and make sure your beneficiaries are up to date. If you’ve signed up for a life insurance policy before your diagnosis, make sure the payout will be enough to cover any leftover expenses. If you are the primary provider for your family, you’ll need to ensure their living expenses will be covered as well. Having life insurance can even provide cash for unexpected medical bills or expenses.
Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney
The process of sorting through finances at the end of life is never simple. Not following simple but often overlooked legal rules can cause your estate to go to court. This can delay any funds getting to your family and leave them with unnecessary legal fees. This is why meeting with an estate attorney is a step you need to take now. An estate attorney can advise you as to how accounts should be set up and what measures need to be in place to ensure your estate is administered without delay. You can also talk about the tax considerations your family may have to deal with and how to best prepare without adding more financial stress.
Plan Out Your Palliative Care Now
It can be tricky for loved ones to make objective decisions when it comes to palliative care. The truth is that you will be able to make the best decisions when it comes to your care and what costs your family can bear. Laying out advance care plans when you are still feeling well enough to make decisions is the best way to make sure your medical care wishes are honored. You may want to consult your medical providers and spiritual leaders to decide what extent of care you feel comfortable with as your journey progresses. Also, be sure to have a conversation with your loved ones so that they know what to expect when difficult times arise.
Learn About Your Financial Options
As you are dealing with a terminal illness, you may also find yourself dealing with financial hardships. If you are unable to work or need in-home daily care, you may be left with bills and expenses you simply cannot cover on your own. It may come as a relief to know that there are financial assistance programs that can help. Many cancer-related non-profits and other organizations may be able to offer some financial aid to those diagnosed with cancer. You can talk to your medical provider to see what options may be available to help you and your loved ones find financial support.
You no doubt have a lot on your mind in this moment, but completing financial steps now will save you stress in the days to come. Taking the time to focus on planning is a good way to allow yourself and your family to focus on making the most of the time you do have left together.
Scott Sanders is the creator of CancerWell.org, which provides resources and support for anyone who has been affected by any form of cancer. He is also the author of the book Put Yourself First: A Guide to Self-care and Spiritual Wellness During and After Cancer Treatment.
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Photographer: Ben White @benwhitephotography
Joél Simone Anthony, also known as ‘The Grave Woman,’ is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is dedicated to eliminating misconceptions about post-life preparation while stimulating an open, honest and straight forward discussion about death. You can submit your comments, questions and requests to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using our contact page.