This section explains the practical, medical and legal issues to consider when you’re told the cancer is advanced. Organising personal, financial and legal paperwork and making decisions about the future is hard. But planning ahead is important whether you have a serious illness or not.
Sorting out paperwork and getting your affairs in order can help you feel more in control of your life and what the future holds, bring a sense of relief, and allow you to focus on treatment and living.
Learn more about:
- Organising your paperwork
- Dealing with bills and debts
- Advance care planning
- Steps in advanced planning
- Preparing legal documents
- Making a funeral plan
Organising your paperwork
Keeping paperwork up to date and in one secure place will make it easier if someone needs to help you with money or legal matters. Discuss your legal arrangements with your family, and let them know how to contact your lawyer. If you have an Advance Care Directive, give a copy to your health care team so they know about any decisions you have made.
Documents to get together include:
- social media login and passwords
- birth, marriage/divorce certificates
- bank and credit card details and passwords
- investment information (e.g. shares)
- Centrelink and Medicare details
- superannuation and insurance
- house title/lease
- loan details (e.g. house, car)
- documents appointing substitute decision-maker/power of attorney
- Advance Care Directive
- funeral information
Podcast for people affected by advanced cancer
Dr Lucy Gately, Medical Oncologist, Alfred Health and Walter and Eliza Institute for Medical Research, VIC; Dr Katherine Allsopp, Supportive and Palliative Care Specialist, Westmead Hospital, NSW; A/Prof Megan Best, The University of Notre Dame Australia and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Keiron Bradley, Palliative Care Consultant, Medical Director Palliative Care Program, Bethesda Health Care, WA; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Emeritus Professor Phyllis Butow, Psychologist, The University of Sydney and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Louise Durham, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Outpatients, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Palliative Care, QLD; Dr Roya Merie, Radiation Oncologist, ICON Cancer Centre, Concord, NSW; Penny Neller, Project Coordinator, National Palliative Care Projects, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Xanthe Sansome, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC; Sparke Helmore Lawyers; Peter Spolc, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.