Planning an estate with a sick spouse who is likely to die in the coming months or years may be the last thing on the mind of either party, but it is an important step to take to save the surviving spouse from serious financial trouble. With help from a compassionate Anne Arundel County estate planning attorney, this does not have to be a stressful, complicated, or time consuming project.
When One Spouse is Terminally Ill
If you or your spouse is terminally ill, or very sick and the condition is not expected to improve, there are a variety of ways to approach the financial future of the surviving spouse. Some of the important steps that you and your attorneys should consider taking may include the following:
- Creating a durable power of attorney
- Creating a living trust;
- Creating an advanced healthcare directive;
- Applying for Medicaid if you are a lower income family;
- Creating a special needs trust to protect your disabled spouse’s or disabled children’s ability to stay on Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income benefits without going over the financial limit.
- Creating a detailed list of all assets owned;
- Digging up pertinent financial information, including tax information;
- Purchasing long-term care insurance;
- Purchasing adequate medical insurance if you have not already done so;
- Deciding who the primary caregiver(s) will be; and
- Updating a will.
Furthermore, according to the American Bar Association, the following are final preparations to take in order to reduce stress as much as possible:
- Make advanced funeral preparations;
- Make advanced memorial preparations; and
- Create a schedule of assets that are subject to disposition upon death.
Women are far More Likely to Outlive their Husbands, and Planning Ahead will Help their Financial Future Greatly
According to the Census Bureau and as reported by the New York Times, over 800,000 Americans lose their spouse every year, with 700,000 of the survivors being women. Women will spend, on average, 14 years without their spouse. Even in this day and age, men are statistically the higher earners in the average marriage, and for older couples, this is even likelier to be true. It is important to work with an attorney even if the sick or dying partner is not the main or sole breadwinner.
Call Maryland Estate Planning Attorney Tara K. Frame Today
We know that, at this time, you want to spend as many quality hours with your sick husband or wife as you possibly can, and that revising your estate plan or creating a new one is far from quality hours. Yet, all too many married couples fail to take action before it is too late, and suffer the financial setbacks afterwards that usually could have been easily prevented. Let us do the work for you, and create a, estate plan, including a will and/or trust that will help take care of the surviving partner for the years to come. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us as soon as you are ready. The caring and professional Pasadena estate planning attorneys of Frame & Frame can be reached today by phone at 410-255-0373, or through email.