Planning ahead ensures people know what your wishes are when it comes to your treatment and future care. Planning ahead is important because healthcare professionals cannot always know how you would like to be cared for in certain situations. They may be unsure of what your wishes would be if you became unwell and were unable to communicate your wishes. Talking to your medical team about your condition and also chatting to close family members or friends about your wishes can help.
There are several ways you can plan ahead. You may find it helpful to start with the ones that are most relevant or important to you:
- Making an advance statement
- Making your will
- An advance decision to refuse treatment (advance directive)
- Creating a power of attorney
- Organ and tissue donation
- Funeral planning
Macmillan Cancer Support have created a checklist that can help you in planning ahead which you may find useful.
Click the image to open the booklet
Writing a will makes sure your wishes are followed after you die. It means that your loved ones will be provided for in the way that you want. It can also prevent them from having to make difficult decisions, or deal with financial problems.
Such problems may happen if your wishes are not clear. You might find that writing your wishes in a will makes you less anxious about the future. A will can also be a way of remembering causes and organisations that are important to you.
Free Wills Service’s
It can be difficult to choose from the hundreds of solicitors available but it’s a good idea to look around or ask for a few quotes to find the right solicitor for you.
There are several charities that provide a Free Will Service to help you find a legal professional to write your will either online, through the post, over the phone or a video call, face-to-face at home or in branch with a solicitor.
Hints and Tips
The law society can also provide you with a list of solicitors in your area.
Go to: lawsociety.org.uk
Or call them on: 020 7242 1222.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’).
You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) when you make your LPA. Timeframe of 10 weeks and may be reduced if on certain benefits.
How do I make a lasting power of attorney?
*We strongly recommend you speak to one of Macmillan Cancer Supports advisers before going ahead and completing the document yourself. You can speak to an adviser on the Macmillan helpline on : 0808 808 00 00
There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Health and Welfare
- Property and Financial Affairs
You can choose to make one type or both.
Health and Welfare lasting power of attorney
Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:
- Your daily routine, for example washing, dressing, eating
- Medical care
- Moving into a care home
- Life-sustaining treatment
- It can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.
Property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney
Use this Lasting Power of Attorney to give an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:
- Managing a bank or building society account
- Paying bills
- Collecting benefits or a pension
- Selling your home
- It can be used as soon as it’s registered, with your permission
Organ donation in England has changed to an opt out system.
What does this mean for me?
It means you are automatically registered as an organ donor unless you specifically opt out.
How do I opt out?
It’s still for you to decide whether or not you want to become an organ donor. If you wish to not be an organ donor you can make this choice here: Organ Donation NHS
Whatever you choose, it’s really important that you let your family / next of kin know.