Individuals in Florida suffering from terminal illnesses need to think about what is going to be done with their money and assets once they pass on. It is an inconvenient fact that money suddenly becomes critically important at the end of life, and our hesitance to discuss finances with a dying relative often causes emotional hardships and poor estate administration.

Financial clarity and peace of mind should be the goal for all terminally ill patients, according to experts. Family members and friends should be able to candidly discuss financial matters with the ill individual. Experts caution that this should be brought up as early as possible during the treatment to prevent confusion. This will make the entire process easier for both the patient and family members.

Open communication is absolutely essential during the process, according to legal experts. Lawyers say that setting a compassionate and respectful tone that stresses that financial issues need to be taken care of is best. This will allow the sick individual to focus on medical care.

First, those with terminal illnesses need to think about taxable income and deductions for the calendar year. If family members have significantly more assets than the sick individual, additional taxes may be applied when inheritances are distributed. Additionally, some medical bills are not paid for by health insurance, and those may cause financial difficulties for family members after the individual’s death.

Sick people should also learn about the probate laws and provisions in Florida. Sometimes, simple probate proceedings are available to those who have fewer than $75,000 to distribute, which can save on court fees. By decreasing available assets at the time of death, significant tax burdens may be lifted.

Terminally ill individuals are also reminded to check the beneficiaries named on life insurance policies and retirement plans. Court proceedings are sometimes needed to ensure that money can be given to underage beneficiaries, for example. Legal experts and probate attorneys can help sort through the confusing maze of probate law to help you draft a document that will best serve your needs.

Luis E. Barreto