At A Glance: Diagnosed With Serious Illness

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Whether it's for yourself or someone you love, let us help you get some important planning out of the way.

Planning and decisions that will help family, friends, and caretakers.

Important Medical Decisions To Make

Creating an Advance Directive, which is comprised of your Living Will and naming a Health Care Proxy, might be tough to think about, but it’s better than the alternative: Forcing your family to make very tough decisions when you no longer can. Avoid unnecessary drama by filling out these documents -- if you haven’t already, download the forms from your state here. Apart from creating your AD, the most important part is letting your family, friends, doctors, and anyone else of importance know where you keep it. We can’t stress this enough! [Dig Deeper: All You Need To Know About Advance Directives]

More Specific Medical Documents: DNR and POLST

dnr document

Unlike an Advance Directive, which serves as a guide for medical treatment, a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) and a POLST (Physicians Orders For Life Sustaining Treatment) are actual medical orders signed by a doctor, and all medical professionals must follow it to the letter. It’s also very specific and based on your current medical condition. A POLST can go by a bunch of different names and isn’t available in every state, so check our State-By-State POLST Forms resource to see if it’s available for you. Again, always make sure these documents are accessible in case of an emergency.

Have A Will

Regardless of what you’re currently experiencing, it’s always good to have an updated Will at the ready. [Dig Deeper: All You Need To Know About Creating A Will]

Getting Paperwork & Accounts Organized

Apart from legal and medical forms (Will, Life Insurance Policy, POA, Advance Directive…) it’s important to get a handle on all the other paperwork in your life to make things easier in the long run (utilities, banking info, digital accounts and passwords, etc...). [Dig Deeper: All You Need To Know About Organizing Important Documents]

Pre-plan Funeral...Or At Least Talk About Funeral Wishes

It might be difficult for you to think about a funeral at this point, but it’s your final farewell. If you have any special requests, have done any pre-planning already, or simply want to have a say in it, let people know. [Dig Deeper: Pre-Planning a Funeral]

Share Personal Thoughts

People in the military sometimes write a letter that should be given to their family in case they don’t make it home. There’s usually a sense of urgency in the military since the risk is real. But the same can hold true in civilian life as well. You can write letters the old fashioned way and designate how you want them distributed. You can also create these in your Everplan (“How I’d Like To Be Remembered”), which allows you to add thoughts as they arise and will only be shared when you say so. However you choose to do it, a personal note from the heart can help your friends and family remember you the way you want them to. [Dig Deeper: How To Write An Ethical Will]

State-By-State Health, Legal, And End-Of-Life Resources

Health & Medical

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