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Advice columnist: Estate planning is important part of fighting cancer

When people are feeling good, it can be difficult to think about not feeling good. When people are healthy, it can also be difficult to think about illness. Those are pretty common and understandable human traits that help people avoid discussions of serious illness and end-of-life plans.

The reality is that when families address those concerns, they reduce worries about the future and the burdens that can fall onto the next generation.

We recently read an advice column for cancer patients – and for families that have a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer – that urges folks going through this trying experience to sit down with an estate planning attorney. Yes, cancer treatments are more effective today than ever, but there continues to be significant room for improvement.

Of course, designating a health care surrogate or power of attorney is not a concession to illness, but rather a set of instructions about how you want your doctor to provide or withhold life-prolonging procedures, and to use Florida law to designate a person of your choice to make health decisions for you if you become incapacitated, among other things.

These legal tools give you and your family more control over your care and the feeling that you (not a doctor or hospital or anyone else) has made these very personal decisions.

A complete estate plan will include not only those healthcare directives, but can also include powerful legal documents such as the following:

  • Will
  • Trust (revocable or irrevocable)
  • Living will and advanced directive
  • Special needs trust

Contact a Brevard County attorney experienced in estate planning to talk over what makes the most sense for you and your family.

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