Sorting out your affairs

Managing debt

If the costs of living with cancer have caused you to fall into debt, you can take the following steps to regain control of your finances.

Firstly, check you are receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled.  Many people with cancer miss out on benefits which are rightfully theirs.  Contact the Macmillan Benefits Advisers on 0300 123 3233 option 1 to ensure you are receiving all the support you are entitled to.

It is important to prioritise your debts.  It is crucial to deal with the most important ones first, for example, mortgage, rent arrears and utilities such as gas, electricity and water.  Contact the organisations involved to discuss a reduced payment amount.  Most companies prefer to come to this kind of agreement rather than taking matter to court.

It is also helpful to let your creditors know why you are having financial problems.

You could also speak with your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Money Advice Centre.

Making a will

A will is a way of making sure your wishes are carried out after you die.   If you leave a will, your executor will carry out its instructions.  An executor is someone you nominate to sort out your money and property after you die.  It may be a relative or friend, or a professional person such as a solicitor or bank manager.

For more information on wills visit:

  • AgeNI – practical advice about making and updating your will,
  • Macmillan Cancer Support – Macmillan Cancer Support also has a discounted will writing service.
  • The Law Society (NI) – This website can help answer questions like ‘Why should I make a will?’ in straightforward and simple terms and tells you what will happen to your assets and property if you choose not to make a will.

When someone dies

Losing a loved one to cancer can be one of the hardest things any of us can go through.  When you have cancer it can also be hard to think of dying or your own death.

Here are some possible sources of information, advice and support if someone close to you has died, or if you are thinking about your own death.

Northern Ireland Bereavement Service

This is part of the Social Security Agency and is a number you can ring to get benefits stopped for someone who has died.  You can also check if you are entitled to Bereavement Benefits or a Social Fund Funeral Payment. Call 0800 0852 463.

Support for the bereaved

The Way Foundation – provides a self-help social and support network for men and women widowed up to the age of 50, and their children. The main aim is to help those widowed young to rebuild their lives by helping one another.

Age NI – provides information on what happens when someone dies, how to arrange a funeral, financial help, organ donation, useful addresses and suggestions for further reading. Tel: 0808 808 7575.

Cruse bereavement care – provides support whenever or however the death occurred and services are provided by trained, experienced volunteers. Cruse offers face-to-face, group, phone, email and online support. Tel: 028 9079 2419.

Local charities

Local charities also offer bereavement counselling – contact the NHSCT Macmillan Information and Support Service  to find out if there is a local charity near you that can help.

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