How Breast Cancer Can Impact Baby Boomer Estate Planning

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and all over the country supporters of breast cancer patients and survivors are honoring those affected by the disease, which includes their families and loved ones. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year. Tragically, an estimated 41,760 women will die in 2019.

Early detection remains the best defense against the disease, and age is a leading factor for a positive diagnosis. In fact, two-thirds of women with invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed after age 55, which puts Baby Boomer women at elevated risk. From an estate planning perspective, a positive diagnosis could also introduce uncertainties such as requiring an updated estate plan, or a series of updates to ensure the planning documents are what the person needs at this time.

Questions to consider with an estate planning attorney include:

  • What breast cancer diagnosis do you have? 
  • What stage
  • Is it localized or advanced? 
  • What’s your prognosis? 
  • What’s the anticipated disease course and treatment? 
  • What are the likely consequences of the treatments? 
  • Are there side effects? 
  • Will they impact your ability to function?
  • What’s the anticipated financial cost of the treatment course? 
  • How will insurance be able to help you defray the cost?

Another question to consider is whether there’s a potential impact on life expectancy. Some diagnoses may require an expedited timeline, while others may provide more time to plan. At a minimum, health care-related estate documents should be addressed. With your estate planning attorney, you can create health care-related estate documents that allow the patient to designate a trusted person, such as a spouse or adult child, to make important health care decisions on his or her behalf. 

If you or someone you know is battling breast cancer, or any serious health issue, encourage them to talk to an estate planning attorney for guidance. Remember, although you don’t have to wait for a diagnosis like this to take action, if you have received this type of diagnosis you need to plan forward.

Category: News & Blog · Tags:

Leave A Comment