Nearly 120 million people nationwide suffer with some sort of chronic illness, and 22 percent of those individuals may live with two more chronic illnesses, according to the Wills, Trusts, & Estates Prof Blog.
Most people might believe that chronic illnesses are something only older individuals need to worry about, but that is actually not the case at all. Even some medical practitioners may not realize how common chronic illnesses are. However, many attorneys would encourage New Yorkers of a wide range of ages who live with such health conditions to prepare or modify their estate planning in the event a health-related issue occurs. Here's why.
Parkinson's disease (PD), for instance, affects 1 percent of people who are over the age of 65, but a quarter of PD cases are also diagnosed before some people reach the age of 60. Young onset PD (YOPD) can be detected as early as the age of 30, which means the illness could have a large negative effect on the careers, savings, and general finances of those who are diagnosed early on.
So what can New Yorkers of any age with chronic illnesses do to prepare or adjust their, or even their loved ones', estate planning? Here are a few options to consider:
- Create a living will. A living will generally dictates and explains the kinds of medical treatment a person wants to receive in the event he or she is unable to communicate their desires due to illness.
- Select a power of attorney for healthcare who will be the person you want to make your medical decisions for you in an emergency.
- Create or modify your will. It's important to keep your will updated, especially in the event you choose to change your potential beneficiaries or want your will to reflect your new circumstances.
- Hire an estate planning attorney. An experienced lawyer can provide legal counsel and explain the legal options that are available to you and best fit your interests.
For more general information on estate planning, visit the Related Resources links below.