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Sunderland Echo - - Family Announcements -

et­ting your af­fairs in or­der makes death less painful for your loved ones

Some­times death is sud­den, caused by an ac­ci­dent, or a cat­a­strophic or un­di­ag­nosed med­i­cal con­di­tion.

In other cases the de­ceased per­son has led a very long life, and death comes as no sur­prise; or is caused by a ter­mi­nal ill­ness such as cancer or chronic heart dis­ease, which runs its course over a pe­riod of weeks, months or even years.

What­ever the cause, and how­ever well pre­pared rel­a­tives and friends think they are, the death it­self is in­vari­ably a shock, even when it is not a sur­prise, and the emo­tions which fol­low are no less deep or painful.

If the death has been ex­pected for some time, griev­ing may al­ready have be­gun be­fore it takes place.

Be­ing un­able to con­tinue with ac­tiv­i­ties or ha­bit­ual pur­suits for­merly shared with the loved one may cause sim­i­lar feel­ings of loss and sad­ness to death it­self.

The mixed emo­tions which fre­quently ac­com­pany be­reave­ment, such as anger, guilt, dis­ori­en­ta­tion or ex­haus­tion, may oc­cur be­fore the death ac­tu­ally takes place.

It is rarely pos­si­ble to pre­dict how long a ter­mi­nal ill­ness will con­tinue, and few doc­tors would be will­ing to place a time frame on an ex­pected death.

But some­times when death will in­evitably oc­cur within weeks or months, there is an op­por­tu­nity to pre­pare: per­haps to en­joy a fi­nal hol­i­day, com­plete unfinished busi­ness, or mend bro­ken re­la­tion­ships.

Putting one’s af­fairs in or­der is a phrase of­ten used to de­scribe a process of mak­ing fi­nan­cial and do­mes­tic ar­range­ments which safe­guard the fu­ture of those left be­hind.

This could in­clude en­sur­ing the dy­ing per­son’s will is up to date, plac­ing bank ac­counts and do­mes­tic util­ity bills in the name of the sur­viv­ing part­ner and en­sur­ing that fam­ily mem­bers are aware of com­puter pass­words and bank de­tails, in­clud­ing PINs. There is also a chance to en­sure that im­por­tant pa­pers such as birth and mar­riage cer­tifi­cates, in­sur­ance and in­vest­ment in­for­ma­tion and car doc­u­ments are all in a safe place, and that a trusted fam­ily mem­ber or lawyer is aware of its lo­ca­tion.

Mak­ing a liv­ing will which states the sick per­son’s wishes re­gard­ing end-of-life care can make it eas­ier for fam­ily mem­bers to make dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions such as whether re­sus­ci­ta­tion is to be at­tempted, and whether the sick per­son is con­tent to die in a hos­pi­tal or hos­pice, or would like to re­turn home.

A durable power of at­tor­ney al­lows the dy­ing per­son to name some­one to act on his or her be­half for any le­gal task if they be­come un­able to make de­ci­sions about le­gal mat­ters.

Death is never an easy to thing to face, ei­ther for a ter­mi­nally ill per­son or fam­ily and friends who will be left be­hind. But the op­por­tu­nity to make plans can make it less painful and dif­fi­cult.

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