What are my first steps if my grandfather has stage 4 cancer?
I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather's cancer. It's a difficult time for grandfather and your family; but there are things you can do now to be proactive with the progression of this disease. Adding to Vanessa's recommendations on the medical and financial power of attorney; also look into hospice care as this is end of life care that is covered by Medicare benefits. Hospice care is used primarily to help the individual with pain management and help the family prepare with death.
I know this may be difficult, but also sit down with your family and your grandfather and discuss how he would like to live the remaining days of his life (at home or a facility). Also if possible discuss how he would like your family to celebrate his life. What kind of funeral (burial or cremation), getting an estate plan in order if their are assets, and also access to all account information (emails, banks, life insurance, etc.)
Good luck with your journey and remember it is difficult to discuss all these topics but remember you are doing this out of love.
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The first step you should take is to do a lot of research on the subject. Look at the specific type of cancer he has as well. That means to search the web, talk to family and friends and maybe a doctor. Understand everything you can about this and then be understanding to your grandfather. Things you need to learn about are behavior changes. You need to understand the changes he might go through when and if he gets a treatment. Look for national, regional and local resources that could help him out. The best thing you can do is to be there for him and support him in any way you can.
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From a legal stand point there a some key documents your grandfather should consider putting in place:
A medical power of attorney, which nominates someone to make medical decisions;
A financial power of attorney, which appoints an agent to make medical decisions; and
Determine whether, depending on the types of assets your grandfather has, if he needs to have a Will or a Trust.
Certain accounts and assets can pass at death via a beneficiary designation. I'd encourage your grandfather to check all accounts for this option.
As difficult it may be, I'd also encourage your grandfather to think about end of life decisions and be as specific as possible regarding health directives.
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