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What to Do When a Loved One Is Terminally Ill

September 21, 2020


Getting the news that your loved one is terminally ill is never easy. It’s one of the most difficult things you can walk through. But even in the midst of that hard time, it’s important that you follow certain steps to make it as comfortable a process for them and for you.

So what do you do when a loved one is terminally ill?

1. Focus on the good.

This might be the most difficult step of all, and yet it’s the most important. It’s normal to feel angry that you’re losing someone you love. Who could blame you?

But I encourage you not to let that anger steal the time you have left with your loved one, whether it’s a parent, a grandparent, or an aunt or uncle. Focus on making your loved one as comfortable as possible and making the most of the moments you have left.

You may not be able to change their health, but you can fill their last days on earth with love.

2. Listen to their stories.

I’ve heard it said that when an elderly person dies, it’s like a library burning down. Those who have lived many years are the ones who have the most stories to share. So ask them about those stories!

Consider audio recording the stories your loved one shares about their childhood, young adulthood, and so forth. You could also write it down as something to pass on to your own children one day.

Find a way to keep a record of those stories because you and your descendants will find them valuable.

3. Get the legal and financial documents in place.

Does your loved one have a will? If not, now is the time to create one. And if they already do have one, this is the time to review it and make sure it’s updated according to their wishes.

Take a look at their beneficiary clauses for their IRAs, 401(k)s, and life insurance. Remember that these things are separate from the will, so review them to make sure they are in alignment with each other.

I’m not an attorney, but I am a financial expert and chartered financial consultant. If you’d like someone to talk to about your loved one’s financial processes, I’d be happy to help. I’ve counseled many people over the years who went through this very process.

You can call me at (407) 644-9411 Ext.2 or email me at