Over the last few decades, the survival rate for cancer patients has improved for many forms of cancer. This, however, does not negate the reality that cancer continues to be the cause of death for many individuals regardless of how long they live after their initial diagnosis. For this reason, assessing one’s financial and estate planning matters upon diagnosis is important.

The Kidney Cancer Association explains that even for patients expected to survive their current cancer, the event can stimulate decisions that help they and their families down the road. When discussing estate plans, people should classify their assets into three categories: intangible personal property, tangible personal property and real property. Intangible property includes investments like stocks, tangible property may include family heirlooms, and real property may be a person’s home or vehicle.

According to Forbes, even patients with positive diagnosis can benefit from creating a health care proxy, living will and a HIPAA release. Together, these documents give them the security they deserve in knowing their health will be managed the way they want. A health care proxy allows another person to make medical decisions, a living will outlines any preferences such as the choice to accept or decline live-sustaining treatments, and a HIPAA release enables another person to discuss matters with medical professionals. Even people who survive cancer may experience times in their treatment when they need this type of help.

In today’s digital world, it is important also to document a person’s online accounts and access so that, if and when necessary, another person may gain access to these accounts to manage important affairs.