Handling the death of a family member is never an easy proposition. Sometimes, the suddenness and ferocity of the change can be enough to take your breath away. Other times, the loved one lingers on, slowly acquiescing to a long, drawn-out illness.
If your loved one has a terminal illness, there are a few things that you, as a family, can do to help everyone handle the process better. By taking these steps you can help minimize the confusion and other issues that can arise when your loved one finally does pass on.
Consider Your Finances
Let’s face it: in America, a prolonged illness can be very expensive. In fact, medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy filing. With this in mind, your family should take a few steps to protect the finances of everyone involved.
A full exploration of the steps you could take to protect your finances is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say that, depending on the state where you live, you may be able to take a few different steps to ensure that your finances are safe from the medical bill collectors.
You should definitely take the time to consult with an estate planning attorney on this matter. What you learn, and the things you are able to do as a result, will be well worth the fee.
Talk About Funeral Planning
While nobody likes to consider the fact that a loved one is going to pass, it is simply a fact of life for all of us. And, if you are in the position of having a family member with a terminal illness, it is a fact that you’ll face sooner rather than later.
You should have a discussion about the funeral. It is a good idea—–if your ill loved one is able to bear it—–to ask what he or she wants. Some people find a degree of comfort in planning and arranging their own funerals.
On a financial note, you should be aware that a funeral can be very expensive. What’s more, life insurance proceeds can take some time to arrive. This means you should take some steps to cover the expense in the interim.
Review Your Legal Papers
Hopefully you’re already talking to an estate planning attorney as noted above. This is a good time to review all of your loved one’s papers: a will, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents. It’s also a good idea to discuss with him or her things like what kinds of medical measures you should (and should not) allow. This is a difficult talk to have, but it’s better to have it while your loved one is still lucid and able to contribute.
Talk to a Grief Counselor
This is a difficult time for everyone. You may find that your family benefits from counseling, and this includes the person who is ill.
While some people may reject the thought of counseling, the fact is that grief counselors are trained to help people process intense bouts of sadness and anguish. You may find that the counselor has just the right words to help everyone cope.
While losing a loved one is never easy, you can make the process a little easier by taking these steps. Take your time, consider your options, and try to plan ahead.
Photo Credit: Getty Embed
This post made possible by site supporter Sean Henry.