- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Facing end of life
- Practical concerns
- Preparing legal documents
- Getting your affairs in order
Getting your affairs in order
These questions can help you to work out the various things you need to consider or organise. Write a to-do list or use the suggestions below as a checklist.
- Have you made arrangements for your financial affairs?
- Do you want someone to make legal or financial decisions for you if you are not able to?
- Have you appointed a power of attorney?
- Does someone know where important papers or valuables are stored in the home or elsewhere?
- Do you have a valid will?
- If you have life insurance, is the beneficiary information up to date?
- If you have superannuation, have you nominated a binding beneficiary? This person must be your dependant. If it is a “lapsing” nomination, you must confirm it in writing every 3 years, so check when you did this last.
- Who would you like to see before you become too unwell? Are there people you want to see or speak to? Any family or friends you want to connect with?
- If you’d like to prepare letters or video messages for family or friends, have you done so?
- Who would you like to have around you as you get closer to death? Do they know? Are there people you don’t want around?
- Are there unresolved issues that you would like to sort out with particular people? Do you need help or mediation to talk to estranged family or friends?
- Have you left the instructions and passwords for your social media accounts somewhere or given them to someone to safeguard?
- Are there certain treatments that you don’t want to have?
- Are there outcomes of specific medical situations (e.g. life support) that you would find unacceptable?
- Have you discussed your wishes for end-of-life care with your family, carers and health professionals?
- Have you considered who can make decisions about your care if you’re not able to make them yourself?
- Have you recorded your wishes for future medical care in an advance care directive?
- Have you appointed a substitute decision-maker?
- Are there any cultural, spiritual or religious practices that you would like carried out before or after your death?
- Who do you need to ask to make sure that what you want will happen?
- Do you want a minister, priest, rabbi, imam or other spiritual practitioner present at the end?
- Do you want to be buried or cremated? Where do you want to be buried?
- Do you have a burial plot? Would you like to have your ashes scattered in a specific place?
- What are your preferences for a funeral or memorial service?
- Have you shared your wishes with family and friends?
I feel like I have a window of time to get my house in order. I want my transition to be easy for my family.Pat
Podcast: Living with Dying
Prof Jane Phillips, Head, School of Nursing and Professor, Centre for Healthcare Transformation, Queensland University of Technology and Emerita Professor Palliative Nursing, University of Technology Sydney, NSW; Prof Meera Agar, Palliative Care Physician, Professor of Palliative Medicine, University of Technology Sydney, IMPACCT, Sydney, NSW; Sandra Anderson, Consumer; A/Prof Megan Best, The University of Notre Dame Australia and The University of Sydney, NSW; Prof Lauren Breen, Psychologist and Discipline Lead, Psychology, Curtin University, WA; David Dawes, Manager, Spiritual Care Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rob Ferguson, Consumer; Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar, Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Social Worker, One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy, NSW; Justine Hatton, Senior Social Worker, Southern Adelaide Palliative Services, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Caitlin MacDonagh, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Palliative Care, Royal North Shore Hospital, Northern Sydney Local Health District, NSW; McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer; Palliative Care Australia; Belinda Reinhold, Acting Lead Palliative Care, Cancer Council QLD; Xanthe Sansome, National Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kirsty Trebilcock, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA.
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