Before his cancer diagnosis, having an updated will and a power of attorney did not cross Martin’s mind. But when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the start of the year and given only two months to live, he realised he had to get his affairs in order.
“You put these things off thinking that it’s too much hassle,” he says. “I wasn’t in the best financial position, so that was the biggest hurdle. I was barely making ends meet.”
Martin’s worries about the legal costs were alleviated when a social worker told him about Cancer Council’s national Pro Bono Program. The program helps people affected by cancer access free legal, financial, small business accounting and workplace assistance, where they would be otherwise unable to do so due to cost, illness or other barriers.
After Martin’s social worker sent a request for assistance to the Pro Bono team, they connected him with a local law firm who provided assistance on a pro bono basis.
Martin says the process of getting his will and a power of attorney sorted was seamless.
“The law firm made it clear what they needed from me and what I needed to do,” he says.
“A lot of stuff was done by email and phone, which made my life easier, especially when I started radiation and chemotherapy.”
Martin praises the Pro Bono Program for making a significant difference to his circumstances.
“I was very impressed right from the start at how helpful everyone at the Cancer Council was and how amazing the lawyers were,” he says.
“Getting my will and the power of attorney done took a huge weight off my shoulders.”
We’re here for you
Our Pro Bono Program is available for those like Martin who have been affected by cancer and cannot afford to pay for professional advice.
Through the service, we connect cancer patients and their carers with volunteer professionals in the community who can provide advice and assistance with legal, financial and workplace issues related to a cancer diagnosis. This is usually at a volunteer professionals’ office, but assistance may also be provided via video, phone and email where needed.
Advice and assistance are free for people who cannot afford to pay for it. We will ask a series of financial questions to check if you are eligible. If you don’t qualify for free assistance, we can put you in touch with a professional who may assist on a paid basis.
To find out more about this service, please call our Cancer Information and Support Line on 13 11 20. If you speak a language other than English, you can contact our Translator service on 13 14 50 or we can arrange a telephone interpreter for you. You can also speak to a social worker at your treatment centre, and they can request assistance for you.