Have you recently been diagnosed with breast cancer? We know that a breast cancer diagnosis can be a life-altering event that affects your physical and emotional well-being. In addition, it can also necessitate careful consideration of your financial and legal affairs. Florida estate planning is a crucial aspect of preparing for the uncertainties that may arise during and after a breast cancer diagnosis. We know you may have questions during this challenging time and we want to share three essential estate planning steps to help protect you, your family, and your legacy.

The first step is to ensure that you have the right healthcare decision maker in place. This decision is one of the most critical estate planning steps to complete when facing a breast cancer diagnosis. This person will be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your preferences. You will want to select a trusted individual to act as your healthcare decision maker to ensure that your medical preferences are honored. You may have specific treatment choices, such as the use of certain therapies or the avoidance of others, which should be respected even when you cannot express them yourself.  You need to select the person who will be able to advocate for you should you be unable to. 

Also important is the fact that choosing a healthcare decision maker can alleviate the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time. Without a clear choice, disputes among family members can arise, leading to stress and potentially delaying critical medical decisions for you. To appoint the right healthcare decision maker, discuss your choices with both your experienced Florida estate planning attorney and your potential agent to ensure they understand your preferences and values. 

The second step is to be aware that navigating the complexities of Florida estate planning can be daunting, especially when you are dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. An experienced Florida estate planning attorney can tailor your estate plan to address the specific needs and challenges posed by your diagnosis. They can help you create a plan that takes into account potential healthcare costs, managing assets, and protecting your loved ones. If you already have a Florida estate plan in place, it is essential to update it to reflect your current circumstances. Your  experienced Florida estate planning attorney will help you make the necessary revisions to accommodate changes in your health and financial situation, and will work alongside you to create a comprehensive plan that addresses all your concerns.

The third step, equally important while facing breast cancer, is ensuring both the financial security and the well-being of your family and the preservation of your legacy. Florida estate planning offers various tools to address these concerns including, but not limited to, any of the following that you may discuss with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney:

  • Legacy documents. These documents include drafting a Florida will or establishing a trust or trusts to allow you to determine how your assets will be distributed after your passing and ensuring that your loved ones are provided for according to your wishes.
  • Life insurance. Be sure to review your life insurance policies and update beneficiaries to provide financial support to your family if the worst should happen.
  • Living will. Beyond your advanced directives, a living will can outline your end-of-life preferences, including the use of life support and organ donation, offering clarity and peace of mind.
  • Charitable giving. Do you have philanthropic goals? Then your Florida estate plan can facilitate charitable donations, allowing you to leave a lasting legacy by supporting causes that matter to you.

We know that a breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, but by taking proactive estate planning steps now you can provide peace of mind to your family and ensure your wishes are honored during and after your battle with the disease.  Planning for the future is critical to ensure that your goals for the end of life are achieved. We know this article may raise more questions that it answers. We do telephone, computer, and face-to-face appointments. Our face-to-face appointments are held outside in the open air (frequently selected by clients for document signing) and inside our office conference room. We follow all CDC guidelines. Our office procedures adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and are designed and enhanced by medical review and air quality engineering.