Death is the ultimate taboo subject in American culture even though no one evades her. In denying our own mortality, we, as a whole, rarely deal with the things that can make our loved ones lives easier. I saw this denial destroy families, financially and/or emotionally, time-and-time again when I practiced probate law.
Author Jay Lake is facing these very issues right now. He's been diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic colon cancer. And, bless him, he's got a game plan in place to make things as easy as possible for himself, his parents, his daughter, his girlfriend, his ex-wife, and every other person who matters to him.
For each of the following main topics, Jay has a breakdown of what actions to take and who's responsible:
Leaving Work for Disability
Reaching the Point of Cognitive Incompetence
Hospice / Palliative Care
You can read the rest at Lakeshore, Jay's blog.
Granted, I no longer practice. I offer this as common sense, not legal advice. Have a fucking will! If you've got underage kids, designate a guardian. Make sure someone knows where all your legal documents are.
I will now get off my soapbox.
[Note: On the evening of May 8, 2013, Jay announced he'd been officially diagnosed as terminal. Despite surgery in late January and chemotherapy since then, ten confirmed tumors have appeared on his liver, lungs, and omentum. Please keep Jay and his family in your thoughts during this difficult time.]