END OF LIFE FINANCES
For you, your partner and your family
At Mummy’s Star, we actively encourage our families to make informed choices around how they wish to approach all aspects of an end-of-life journey. A key part of this is to look at your finances.
As with all conversations about death and dying, it may be difficult to know where to start, but the information below will hopefully give you some guidance. Remember you can also discuss this with your support worker.
What do we mean by finances at End of Life?
We understand that as you near the end of your life, you or your family may have concerns about finances. Financial help is available, and you can sometimes access it at short notice.
Most people who need care towards the end of their lives qualify for disability benefits. This includes:
This benefit is not means-tested. This means the amount of money you have does not affect whether you can get the benefit. You can apply for these benefits using a fast-track process if:
you are terminally ill
your doctor thinks you may reasonably be expected to live for less than 6 months
This is called ‘special rules’. Your claim will be dealt with quickly and you will automatically be paid the higher rate. Special rules claims for PIP apply for up to 3 years. Under special rules, you can also apply for:
Employment and Support Allowance, if you are unable to work because you are ill
Universal Credit, if you are out of work or on a low income.
You will need to explain that you are claiming under special rules when you claim the benefit.
Your cancer doctor or specialist nurse will also need to fill out a form called a DS1500 and send it to:
the Department of Work and Pensions in England, Scotland or Wales
the Disability and Carers Service in Northern Ireland.
They aim to get your payments to you within 2 weeks of sending the DS1500.
You can also speak to your Mummy’s Star Information and Support Worker. They can give you some support around claiming benefits and help you fill in claim forms.
You can also get more information and apply for certain benefits by visiting:
There are lots of organisations that offer grants to people in need. You may be able to apply for a Mummy’s Star Grant by speaking to your Information and Support Worker, even if you have already had one from us.
Other places to ask for help are:
Government and local councils
Different areas have local schemes that provide grants and loans. Contact your local council to find out what help you can get in your area. They may have a specialist advisor who can help you with a number of financial issues and sit down to discuss this with you. Visit gov.uk if you live in England, cosla.gov.uk if you live in Scotland, or wlga.wales if you live in Wales.
Utility Compnies (gas, electricity and water companies)
There are different types of support available if you are struggling with utility bills. Your energy supplier may be able to give you a grant, a discount or a better payment arrangement. There are also energy-saving schemes and government grants to reduce your costs.
Charities and other Organisations
Macmillan Grants are small payments to help people with the extra costs that cancer can cause. They are usually a one-off payment. They are for people who have a low level of income and savings. You apply through a health or social care professional. The Macmillan Grants team processes your application on the day they get it. If your application is approved, payments are usually sent out within 3 working days.
Turn2us help people find specific charities that may be able to offer financial help.
Other financial things to think about:
There may be other things to sort out, such as bank accounts and pensions.
Your bank accounts will be frozen when you die. This means money can only be taken out if the person carrying out the instructions in your will transfers it. It is their job to tell the bank that you have died.
In England and Wales, if you have a joint bank account with another person such as a partner, any money left in the account belongs to them. But in Scotland, any money you put into a joint account still belongs to you when you die. It then becomes part of your estate.
You can nominate someone as your beneficiary using a legal nomination form provided by your pension scheme. This means that whatever is left in your pension when you die may pass directly to them, but this depends on the terms and conditions of your pension scheme. Make sure your pension provider has up-to-date details of your beneficiary. If you have more than one pension remember to tell all your providers.
Writing or amending your Will
We appreciate that the thought of writing your will may be daunting, but they are usually very simple to do and give you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out when the time comes. We recommend you speak to a solicitor or professional will writer when making your will. This will help to ensure that your wishes can easily be followed when you die. To find a local solicitor please visit solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk
It’s Good To Talk...
You will often hear us say that this is not a journey to undertake alone and, if you feel able, talking to your partner, friends and family about the reality of your situation will be a great help to you all.
If this feels difficult, there are other services that can provide a listening ear and compassionate, understanding advice:
Your Mummy’s Star’s Information Support Worker.
Your local hospice team.
Your health care provider.
A certified counsellor.
Samaritans (or another anonymous listening service).
A good friend or family member.
Talking to your child(ren) about an end-of-life prognosis can be the most difficult conversation of all; yet again it is vitally important to offer them the same openness and honesty you would another family member.
We offer detailed support to our Mums on talking to children about cancer and dying, in collaboration with the Fruitfly Collective. Click here to watch our Ask The Expert session about Children and Talking Cancer.
Please remember, you are not alone. You can contact your Information Support Worker
or get in touch using our contact form to talk about anything you are worried about.