It is never easy facing the realities of a loved one with a terminal illness. Yet, through the pain of the future loss, you still have to deal with the details that come with someone’s condition and their death. Then, of course, legal situations, additional expenses, and estate arrangements can cause further hardship for the family. Getting prepared and consulting with Nobles Law Firm early on will help you through this transition period.
Preparing for the End
It is difficult to think (let alone talk) about it, but preparing legally for medical choices is crucial. For instance, getting the legal documents completed before your loved one loses their capacity to authorize it will make decisions like end-of-life care and health care preferences far less complex.
- A living will includes any health care preferences your loved one chooses, like whether they want CPR, a feeding tube, dialysis, or other medical interventions.
- Either a health care power of attorneyor health care proxy authorizes someone “to act on an ill person’s behalf when necessary.”
In addition, it’s essential to talk about death, including funeral arrangements, with family, friends, and, most importantly, your loved one. Unfortunately, many people struggle to have these conversations. Everyone responds differently and needs different levels of comfort as things develop with the illness. Some need reassurance, others want to have direct conversations, and even more fear death and need empathy.
Making these decisions ahead of time and having frank conversations will help everyone, including your loved one.
Preparing the Home
While caring for your loved one, you may not be able to prepare their home for afterward adequately. You likely will focus on ensuring the medical supplies, bills, and other expenses involved in their care are taken care of but don’t always notice if their home starts to need attention.
When the time comes, the home will likely need to be sold. But, unlike selling your own home, getting the home ready for sale presents unique challenges.
The legalities of selling the home of a deceased family member are different than selling your own home. First, you’ll have to provide documentation, including the estate status and executor. Remember, the estate executor is not necessarily the spouse or next of kin. It is best to choose the person beforehand and someone “who is responsible and in a good mental state to make decisions.” There is also the probate process to consider as you get the home ready to sell.
We don’t realize how much stuff is in a home until we go to clean it out. Those closets you’ve put the blankets away in for years suddenly have noticeable knick-knacks, memories, clothes, and more. It can be a grueling process emotionally. To make it easier, ask for help. A friend may help by throwing out non-sentimental items like expired food, toothbrushes, and other toiletries.
Getting the home ready for market may require repairs and updates like painting, repairing cracked windows, and fixing leaky pipes. Connecting with a qualified real estate agent can advise you on which changes are necessary, such as:
- Updating or removing wallpaper
- Changing the lighting
- Removing all indications of a pet
Dealing with the legal, medical, and estate issues as early as possible allows you and your family to prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically for your loved one’s passing. Whether it’s obtaining a living will or having a friend help you clean out the family home for an estate sale, taking these necessary steps can allow you to grieve without too much extra stress.
Guest post by Lucille Rosetti.