End of Life – Handling a Terminal Diagnosis

Receiving a terminal diagnosis and knowing end of life is nearer than expected is a huge burden to handle. You are going to go through a whole range of emotions – anger, resentment, fear, sadness. And those feelings may ebb and flow as time goes by.

Typically a terminal diagnosis tends to mean facing end of life within 12 months, but, of course, there are no guarantees and it can be a lot shorter than that. And indeed, for others, it can be longer.

Whilst you still have full capacity we recommend getting your affairs in order as soon as you can.

Here are some things for you to consider:

  • Lasting Powers of Attorney – do you have these in place? For both health and financial matters? If you do, have you still got the right people appointed? If not, we recommend getting these actioned as quickly as possible.
  • Willis your Will up to date? On reading it now, are you still happy with the provisions you have made?
  • Pensions – have a read through your plans. Do you have any deferred plans? If so, it is worth asking for a valuation. Obtaining the cash equivalent value means you have access to the money now, but can also set up a Trust to protect the money leaving it to your family, when you are gone.
  • Life Assurance – many policies will pay out on a terminal diagnosis, supported with medical certificates. This is usually only available if there is more than 18 months left on the policy. Again, this means you have access to the money now, should you need it, and can also put into Trust.
  • Critical Illness cover – we are often surprised when clients forget they have this. This is exactly the purpose of this cover, so do make sure you have spoken to any providers, or us, for support.
  • Where to die – for some dying at home where they have happy memories is important, for others they don’t want medical equipment at home, and would rather be in a hospice. Make the right decision for you – not your family. And talk to your loved ones about what you want.
  • Funeral – this can be very hard when you feel like you’re staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, but if you can face it, deciding on your own funeral arrangements can take a huge amount of pressure off your loved ones. When you are no longer here, they will be reassured that they are giving you the send off you wanted, which is not something we often discuss in any detail.

The above is about the practical side of handling the most difficult situation any of us will ever have to face.

But what about your own wellbeing?

If you are still able to get about, we actively encourage you to spend as much time as you can doing everything you love.

Whilst travel insurance can be very high when faced with a terminal illness it can still be possible to travel. So, if there is somewhere you have always wanted to visit, and you are physically able to do so, then go for it.

Don’t work, unless you really have no choice. Just spend the time enjoying the company of your friends, family and loved ones. Eat what you want – calories don’t matter! Drink that champagne you had saved for a special day – for today is that special day.

As we say at Copthorne LifePlan, live your best life now. And for you, that is so important.

We can’t take away the road ahead, even though we wish we could. But if you need any support in getting your affairs in order, please contact us on 01344 875 310.

Terminal diagnosis