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Estate planning for the terminally ill

If you are suffering from a terminal illness you will be dealing with a lot of heartache and personal growth challenges. You will also be dealing with some very serious estate planning challenges. If you are healthy enough to take care of your personal affairs, there are some important considerations you will want to keep in mind.

If you are married and have a terminal illness, you may want to review your will and how the distribution of your assets will be handled following your death. If you do not have a will on file, now is the time to take care of that detail. You may also want to consider setting up a trust depending on the nature of your financial and family situation.

Do you own a home with you spouse? Do you want your spouse to inherit all of your assets, including your share of the family home? Or do you have a child that you hope for your share of the home and other assets to go to?

In the state of California, if there are questions about the inheritance of your family residence, the issue of whether the home is considered separate or community property will be an important one. If you bought the home before you marriage, or if your spouse bought the home before your marriage, and only one of your names is on the deed, then it will be considered separate property. If your home is separate property in your name, you'll be able to transfer the property over to your upon your death. Conversely, if your home is considered community property jointly with your spouse, then you can bequeath your share of the home to you children at death.

It is important to discuss will and trust creation strategies, and other estate planning concerns, with a qualified attorney as soon as you discover that you have a terminal illness. The sooner these issues get settled, the sooner you can focus on your health and spending he precious time you have with your family.

Source: MarketWatch, "I’m terminally ill — my husband says he will disinherit my son," Quentin Fontrell, May 05, 2016

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