Parkinson’s Disease is becoming more prevalent in the United States and in Minnesota. In 2020 there were just under 1 million individuals living with Parkinson’s and by 2030 it is expected to rise to $1.2 million, based on a recent study done by the Parkinson’s Foundation. Additionally, the cost of treating the disease is increasing. Medications alone cost an average $2,500 annually and therapeutic surgery can cost up to $100,000 per person. There are so many unknows as to how the disease will affect you and how long and the quality of the life that remains. It is not just Parkinson’s Disease; these steps would assist anyone receiving a life-threatening diagnosis.
What are the steps you need to take once a diagnosis is received?
Start by informing your professionals. For financial purposes this would include your attorney, insurance agent, and your financial planner. Estate planning documents need to be reviewed to make sure they are up to date, and people you have assigned in difference roles are still those you want in those roles. Talk to your insurance agent to determine what may be covered under your home owner’s policy. Financial plans need to be updated along with adding new assumptions. Beneficiaries need to be reviewed and updated.
Identify changes that need to be made to your estate planning documents and your financial plan. On the legal side, make sure your estate documents are up to date. You need a Will, Durable Power of Attorney for Finance, Health Care Directives and if necessary, Trust documents. Talk with your attorney along with the people you have selected as you attorney-in-fact, trustees, and personal representatives to make sure they are willing to take on those duties. I was working with a couple where the husband was dying. The wife, although listed as the health care representative, knew when the end came, she would not be able to make the decision to take her husband off life support. His brother was then assigned as representative, and things went much more smoothly, and the wife was not tasked with that awful decision at a very emotional time.
On the financial side, assumptions for expenses need to include increased medications expenses and medical costs, also long-term care expenses may have to be added. If special gifts are left to individuals or foundations, money will have to be identified and earmarked for those purposes.
Start making lists for others. The lists you keep will help others be organized so things are not missed, such as bills if you are incapacitated or who to call if a specific medication is not working for you. Make a list of your medical team which includes contact information, roles and medications prescribed. Keep lists of your financial service contacts and where documents are located. Maintain lists of user IDs and passwords. LinkedIn and Facebook are just two of the many sites where people can go to get photos and identify who needs to be kept informed.
There is a very good possibility that wishes and scenarios will change as the disease progresses. Legal and financial documents will need to be updated periodically. The one thing we realize is that everything is changing and in order to have your wishes carried through, attention needs to be paid to both legal and financial aspects.
There are many sources available to you to help organize information, including our website. Visit www.Castlerockfp.com for resources including Personal and Financial Inventory, Digital Asset Management and Guide When a Loved One Dies.