I recall meeting with a heartbroken couple facing an aggressive, terminal diagnosis for one of them. There was little time left. From that meeting I headed to a health care facility to review estate documents with a man recovering from a serious health condition. He was lucid but so weak he could barely sign the documents I prepared.
In both instances, we were able to put their estate plan into place. That is not always the case. In another case, I sat at the bedside of a woman who told me a few months earlier she wanted to wait before completing her estate plan. I tried to determine her wishes but she was so weak that she could not answer my questions. As she made subtle sounds or movements, family members tried to interpret. However, it was not enough. She died within hours . . . and without a will.
The couple in my first example was lucky enough to complete their estate planning before passing. However, estate planning after the crisis still created significant burdens. Instead of focusing on loved ones and what matters most, they had to make sure their estate planning was done. For them, estate planning was not a source of comfort; it became a desperate burden.
In the other example, my weakened client found himself caught between two well-meaning loved ones. Trying to help, they were gently pressuring him to make choices they thought best for him . . . or maybe for themselves. I had to take additional steps to ensure his weakened condition had not left him susceptible to coercion from others.
When a health crisis strikes, extra time may be a blessing for many reasons. This is not necessarily true for estate planning. At that vulnerable time, the challenges to effective planning will likely be significantly greater. Don’t miss the opportunity now to plan when you can.
Come to a free presentation and learn answers to the questions you should be asking to protect you and your loved ones.