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Practical issues

There are practical issues to think about when you know you are dying. These might include your will, your finances and the type of funeral you want.

Your will

A will is a legal document which needs to be prepared and written in the right way. Often it's best to pay a solicitor to help you. 

It's important to make your will (or update it) sooner rather than later. 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 worrying. They can be especially stressful if you’ve been ill for a long time and have had to give up work because of your cancer.

You could be spending more on special diets, heating or laundry. You might worry about how you will pay bills, your mortgage or rent and other living expenses. 

Help and support is available to you for many of the financial issues you might have. You could qualify for Government benefits and charity grants if you have cancer, or if you’re 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 depressing 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 might be certain music, songs, poems or prayers that you’d like to have. You might want to have the funeral at a specific church and be buried in a certain cemetery. You can 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 own funeral, a funeral director can help you with this. 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 in the past might be able to suggest someone. 

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

Last reviewed: 
11 May 2016
  • Making a will
    GOV.UK, 7th July, 2016

  • Dying well; a holistic guide for the dying and their carers
    R. Reoch
    British Medical Journal. 1997, 314:1632

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