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  • Writing a will



    3 replies

    Although my husband had a will, it was seriously out of date and needed changing. He kept putting it off, (possibly because it was too big a task to face emotionally), until he was too ill to visit the solicitor. She , however , was willing to come to our house, something that I would never have considered asking for until a friend suggested it. 

    Of course it would have been much easier and cheaper had he confronted the issue earlier......!

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  • TheHodCarrier

    Edited by TheHodCarrier 9 years ago

    Hi HilaryB,

    I must admit that I should write a new Will but I haven't actually done it (despite knowing that I ought to, for several years) - although part of my problem is no close family, and I'm not sure who I want to leave my assets to. Plus, of course, I don't think I'm going to die in the near future ! To somewhat complicate things, I was significantly depressed a few years ago, and my motivation to do almost anything, 'often seems rather lacking' (I'm not sure how much of that is a result of the period of depression, and how much is due to age and increasing grumpiness: think 'Victor Meldrew's grumpier brother' and that is probably pretty-much me).

    But as I spend much of my e-mail time arguing about various end-of-life issues with what feels like 'much of the NHS', it is definitely perverse that I have not written a new Will !

    Most of us do this - I think it was Joan Bakewell, who pointed out in a newspaper piece that many elderly people know they should be thinking about moving into a care home, but 'we don't want to face that, so we avoid thinking about it' (my phrasing).

    This 'not thinking or talking about things we look away from' is a serious complication for the loved-by-the-NHS concept of 'advance care planning [for end-of-life]' - there are inherent problems with ACP in the way the NHS tends to use it, but there is also the fact that if patients have not accepted they are dying, it is 100% impossible to properly do any sort of ACP.

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  • HilaryB

    I think that people who are in denial (either the person who is ill and/or their loved ones) face an unbelievably difficult time personally. Sadly , however, as you say, they also make it very difficult for others, be they friends or medical personnel, to help them. 

    I have a friend whose partner of 17 years had colorectal cancer. They intended to get married, and had set a date for 2 weeks ahead (or whatever the normal minimum time is for register office weddings to be arranged). I told her that in special circumstances a wedding could be arranged at very short notice, 24 hours I believe, and she told me it wasnt urgent. Her partner died 2 days before the proposed wedding, which not only came as a huge shock to her, but left her in very different financial circumstances than either of them would have wished for. So sad, but they both were in complete denial......

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  • TheHodCarrier

    Hi HilaryB,

    There is also 'denial' around dying by clinicians - clinicians are often not keen to talk openly about death to patients and family, as is sometimes revealed when clinicians are asked 'did you explain it' (and they tend to say 'yes we did') while if you ask the patient/family they are more likely to say 'no they didn't make it clear to us'.

    It is just a horrible paradox, that dying is 'nasty in itself', but that the 'general tendency to look away from death' often makes dying even worse. I wrote a piece on BMJ:

    and in it I commented on how difficult it is, to get 'conversations about dying' started.

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