What To Do After A Terminal Diagnosis In Hong Kong

Being given a terminal diagnosis is one of the most devastating and depressing news that you can hear. Although death is a certainty for all of us, nobody wants to know that they only have a specific time frame before they pass away. And death through a sickness is also something else. Most of the time, it involves a painful journey as our physical body slowly gets weak.

According to the data published on CKH.com, 1 out of 3 deaths in Hong Kong is caused by cancer. This amounts to 10,000 people each year. The data revealed that this is both physically and mentally painful for the one diagnosed – and those around them. It is not something that one can easily accept. However, that is the reality of life. We sometimes abuse our bodies and fate has a way of getting back at us for our irresponsible lifestyle.

Of course, you are probably not in the mood to play the blame game. As you are trying to wrap your head around being given a terminal diagnosis, you need to take your eyes off your plight and start thinking about what lies before you. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, we encourage you to think about how you will spend the remainder of your life – and make sure that those you will leave behind will be okay.

After A Terminal Diagnosis In Hong Kong

Be financially prepared

One of the things that you need to do is to check your finances. Do not give in to hope. Although you are given a terminal diagnosis, you need to believe that miracles do happen. If the doctor advises you to get medical treatment, that is what you should do. Try not to deny yourself the treatment because it might give you a longer life.

Of course, these medical treatments will cost you and your family. You do not want to put everyone in debt – only to pass away in the end. You will be leaving a grieving and financially challenged family behind. If you love them, you will try not to put them in this situation.

Here are some things that you need to do to get the finances that you need to lengthen your life:

Access your MPF.

According to the press release from the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA), members of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme are allowed to withdraw their benefits early – as long as it will be used for a terminal illness. The MPF is the fund that you are saving for your retirement.

If you are given a terminal diagnosis, you can make early withdrawals so you can use this money to help yourself get better. This was proclaimed back on August 1, 2015, and is believed to be a great help for those who are unable to work because of their sickness. You simply have to provide proof of an official opinion from a registered medical practitioner to get your benefits.

If the illness reduces your life expectancy to 12 months, you can show a medical certificate to access your funds.

Find programmes that can help with medical costs.

You should also look for programmes that are specifically created to help those who are sick. The public healthcare system can help you get quality treatment without digging deep into your pocket. But there are other programmes that go beyond financial help. For instance, the Hospice Programme is from the Li Ka Shing Foundation.

It is meant to provide establishments (8 hospice day care centres) for the benefit of terminally-ill patients. It helps provide relief and counselling for both the patient and the family. You need to get all the help you can get so you can be strong and resilient as you go through this difficult phase in your life.

Your estate planning checklist

Once you have exhausted the funds that you can get from the government and non-profit organizations, you should also prepare yourself for the possibility of your death. This is a difficult reality to take in – but a necessary one especially when you have kids. You have to make the appropriate arrangements to ensure that they will be okay even when you are gone.

This is why you need to start your estate planning as soon as possible. Here are the things that you need to do after you are given a terminal diagnosis.

  • List all your debts. Make sure you try to pay them off – without compromising the funds that you will use to treat your illness. Focus on the secured debts first to avoid endangering the assets that you can leave behind for your spouse and kids.
  • List all your assets. This includes your house, car, jewellery, and other valuable possessions under your name. Make sure you also include any digital assets that you may have. For instance, you can name a Facebook “heir” so they can access your social networking account. The same is true for any online banking accounts that you own and other digital possessions that you have.
  • Nominate guardians for your children – if you are single. If you have a husband, he will get automatic custody of your kids.
  • Update your insurance policy and other benefits. Name your beneficiaries in each one. This will be used by your family to file their claims when you are gone.
  • Identify who will get your assets. Take note that it does not have to be someone you are related to.
  • Make sure you understand the laws surrounding inheritance taxes. This might affect what your beneficiaries will receive from your estates.
  • Nominate an executor for your will. Ideally, this should be someone you can trust and is also not a beneficiary of your estate. This will help make him or her unbiased. The executor should have a copy of your final will.

When it comes to estate planning, get the help of a professional so you will not miss out on anything. Sometimes, being given a terminal diagnosis might affect your perception. Not only that, your mental state might be compromised by treatments and medications that you are going through.

When you choose a professional to help you out, make sure your spouse or someone very close to you is aware of everything that you are going through. You need all the support you can get. It is okay to be strong but learn how to rely on the surrounding people who love you very much.

Sometimes, when we are prepared and we are sure that our loved ones will be okay, death does not seem too bad.

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