Every year, numerous women in New Jersey, and even a few men, are diagnosed with breast cancer. When such a diagnosis is received, staying positive and looking ahead to the future is a must -- though, understandably, difficult. The last thing anyone wants to do when faced with a severe illness is think about putting one's affairs in order. Estate planning may not be at the top of one's priority list, but it is not something one should put off entirely. It is possible to remain positive about one's prognosis and make sure personal protections are put in place in the event they are needed.
Estate planning covers a lot of ground. It is more than writing a will and naming beneficiaries. The following legal documents could prove helpful should one, during the course of treatment, become unable to make important decisions or care for oneself:
- Power of attorney
- Health care proxy
- Living will
- HIPPA release
A power of attorney allows one to name an agent to handle any financial matters that need addressing if one becomes incapacitated. A health care proxy will enable one to appoint an agent to make decisions regarding medical care for the same reason. A living will allows a person to document his or her wishes regarding medical care. Finally, a HIPPA release enables an individual to name one or more persons he or she wishes to have access to his or her medical information.
Following a breast cancer diagnosis, there are so many unknowns. It is impossible to know how one will fare throughout treatment. Going through the estate planning process as soon as possible can offer cancer patients in New Jersey a bit of relief, as they will know, no matter what happens, that all the legal protections they and their families need are in place.