Estate And Financial Planning For People With Chronic Illness

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We all have plans and dreams for the future.  Many times, those of us with chronic illnesses  see our plans and dreams change or end due to our illnesses. But, something many people are hesitant to think about is estate and financial planning.

The week of October 17 – 23, 2011 is designated National Estate Planning Awareness Week. has an article about estate and financial planning. The article highlights the work of estate planner Marty Shenkman,  whose wife Patti was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006. They wanted to customize Patti’s financial and estate plans, but found that they couldn’t. So Marty created different ways.

As part of National Estate Planning Awareness Week, Marty is sharing his knowledge of estate planning for those with a chronic illness webinar titled “Estate and Financial Planning For People Living With Multiple Sclerosis.” Even though it is titled for people with MS, it would benefit anyone with a chronic illness. The following are the 12 steps for estate and financial planning that will be discussed in the webinar.

  1. Organize your emergency information and information about your advisors.
  2. Designate a person to handle your financial and legal issues by creating a power of attorney.
  3. Designate a person to make health care decisions and access medical records by creating a health care proxy.
  4. Communicate your health care wishes by creating a living will.
  5. Protect your minor children with an emergency child medical form.
  6. Sign a will.
  7. Create a personalized (not boilerplate) revocable living trust to manage your assets during your disability or illness.
  8. Ensure that your insurance coverage is in order.
  9. File your beneficiary designations and confirm title to your accounts.
  10. Give back so you can demonstrate important values to heirs, help others, and inspire others.
  11. Communicate your estate and financial plan to your advisors, family, and friends.
  12. Review, revisit, and revise your plan so it can continue to protect you.

The article also has links to a variety of resources for those who want more information. Also, this press release lists other webinars Marty is involved with during the week  for consumers and professionals to help with estate and financial planning for those with chronic illness.

Have you planned for the future or have you been putting it off for another day?



  1. When Stuart had his episode and ended up in the hospital over night, it was a wake up call to us, and we have been trying to get things in order.
    It’s hard, we’ve had an apt with a lawyer to write up a will, but have had to cancel both times because of me and my stuff.

    However, when you have a chronic illness you often have very few people who are close to. (at least it’s that way for me.)
    I have Stuart. And of course, he is my back up on everything, but what if something happened to him? or both of us at the same time? we need a back up plan…and I tell you, I can’t think of anyone I really trust with all of that.

    so it’s hard, but we’re working on it.
    Do have a living will, and health care power of attorney.
    (not positive about who I’ve chosen as my back-up, but I think she would follow what I’ve requested…at least she said she would.)
    Have my organ donation, and temporal bone donation, all set up.
    we have a provision for our animals, but don’t know who will take care of them, however they will be financially taken care of.

    Still deciding on charities to leave things to.

    So much to decide, so little real help when you don’t feel like you have anyone who you can trust with these matters.

    It’ s not like we have a lot, but things need to be put in order. you are very right about that!


    1. This is something that so easily can be put on the back burner. I know I thought about it the odd time over the years but rarely did anything about it. Now that I’m older (and, truth be told, also saw a twitter alert to the article), I’m thinking about it more. What do I need to do? What about my online stuff? (That will be another post.) I was looking for resources for estate planning for people with chronic illness in Canada and it’s not the same as the U.S. I may have to use the word elderly. I’ll listen to the webinar and have to use that with whatever I can find online. I’ve found a Canadian book that’s popular so I might buy that.

      This is one of those times I say I need to take up drinking as a hobby. On the province’s website I entered the phrase “estate planning for people with chronic illness”. The first result was “Mental Illness and Pathways into Homelessness: Findings and Implications”. Yikes!

      Then I changed it to “estate planning for people with disabilities”. The very first result was “Winery opens doors for people with disabilities”. You just can’t make this shit up.

  2. I’ve come up with some strange search results, but omg, that’s just crazy.

    I came across a book giveaway today that I think you might be interested in. It has some of this in it.
    It’s called Your Medical Mind – How to decide what is right for you.

    Here’s the link to the giveaway, I put my name in.

  3. Hey, you changed the look of your blog!
    when did you do that? Am I really that unobservant?
    Of course I read your post in my email, but I come here to comment.

    How could I have missed this.

    I admit, the last time I was here i thought…what a soothing background. I don’t think I ever saw the top.

    I’m just befuddled. and if you tell me it’s always looked this way…I’ll just faint right here!

    : )


    No need to feel unobservant or befuddled. I only changed it two or three days ago. WordPress retired two themes and combined them into this one. So, this is a new one.

    I like the colours, but I may play with it to have the top as a more purple. I love pictures of the sky when it has that deep blue/purple feel. I’ve really been into purple lately, I don’t know why. Must be feeling queenly and royal. My new comforter, about half of the tops that I’ve bought this year, a raincoat – all are various shades of purple.

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