Practical issues (funerals, wills, finances) | Cancer Research UK
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Practical issues (funerals, wills, finances)

Coping with cancer

Find out about dealing with practical issues when you know that you are dying. There is information about


Your will

Most people want to make a will, to make sure that the money and possessions they leave behind go to the people they want it to. This is a legal document which needs to be prepared and written in the right way. Often it is best to pay a solicitor to help you. This is usually inexpensive.

If you have already made a will, but need to update it, it is important that you do so sooner rather than later. Once you have made your will, tell your next of kin where you have put it.

The guidance on drawing up a will describes the process and how to list your assets to discuss with the solicitor. It also lists the documents and information (bank details, insurance policies etc) that your next of kin may need to register your death.


Your finances

Financial problems can be very stressful, especially if you have been ill for a long time and have had to give up work because of your cancer. You might be spending more on special diets, heating or laundry. You may worry about how you will pay bills, your mortgage or rent, and other living expenses. 

Help and support is available to you for many financial issues that you may have. You might quality for Government benefits and charity grants if you have cancer, or are caring for someone with cancer. The social worker at the hospital or hospice can also give you advice on where to get financial help.


Choosing the type of funeral you want

Discussing your funeral might not be an easy subject. Understandably, some people find it morbid and unsettling to discuss their funeral before they die. But others find it comforting to plan and organise their own funeral in a lot of detail. 

There may be certain music, songs, poems or prayers you would like to have. You may want to have the funeral at a specific church and be buried in a certain cemetery. You can also say whether you want a burial or cremation.

There is no wrong or right way to do any of these things. It is a very personal issue and up to you and your close relatives and friends. The important thing is to let someone know your wishes.

If you would like to plan your funeral before you die, most funeral directors will be very understanding and can help you. They will do all they can to make this time as easy as possible for you. 

Choosing a funeral director can be difficult. Friends or relatives who have had to arrange a funeral may be able to suggest someone. 

You can also contact the National Association of Funeral Directors. They can give you details of local funeral directors.


For more information

Find out about

Wwriting a will

Government benefits

Charity grants

For general information and support

Contact the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040 (Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)

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Updated: 11 May 2016