If somebody dies without leaving a will, and/or the executor they have named is unable to act, an administrator can be appointed to wind up of their estate and assets. Individuals can apply to be an administrator if they are the next of kin.
Advance care planning
Advance care planning is a discussion between you and the people caring for you about your preferences and choices for future care needs. This is a voluntary process and can be written down if you wish so that it can be shared with others. This document can also be called your preferred priorities of care.
Advance directive (also known as an advance decision)
An advance directive or decision is a legally binding document in which you can refuse certain treatment at a point in the future. It will be used to express your views when you no longer have the capacity to do so yourself. You can find further information and a blank form by visiting this link.
An advance statement (also called an “expression of wishes”) is a way of making your wishes known about your future treatment and care. Areas you may need to consider include your preferred place of end of life care, whether you wish to receive nutrition by feeding tube or help breathing with a respirator and whether you would like to be resuscitated or would prefer a natural death. You should make sure your GP, family and any other relevant people have copies of this information.
Bereavement is the state of mourning or sorrow after a loved one has died.
A bucket list is a list of things you want to achieve before you die.
A coroner is an independent judicial officer responsible for investigating deaths in particular situations. The coroner can also arrange for a post-mortem examination of a body, if necessary.
Counselling is when you talk to a trained counsellor about your worries or concerns. Counselling services are available via your GP.
Do not attempt resuscitation form/allow a natural death form
A “do not resuscitate” form is completed by your doctor following discussion with yourself and or your family. It indicates that you do not wish to be resuscitated if your heart stops working. All other supportive care is provided. An “allow a natural death form” is similar and indicates that you do not wish medical staff to intervene with the dying process when it occurs.
End of life care
End of life care is an important part of palliative care and refers to the care someone receives during the last part of their life.
An executor is a person named in a will as responsible for carrying out the terms of the will.
A form BD8 is a certificate of the registration of death. You might need to fill this out and return if the person who has died was getting a state pension or benefits.
Grant of representation/ probate
The right to deal with the estate/assets of someone who has died.
A guardian is a legally appointed carer for any children you may have and can be designated in your will.
A green form is a certificate giving permission for burial or cremation.
The gold standards framework
The gold standards framework is a method used by GPs to coordinate palliative and end of life care in the community.
Hospice care is designed to give supportive care to people in the last phase of a terminal illness and focuses on comfort and quality of life, rather than cure. Its aim is to help patients be comfortable and free of pain so that they live each day as fully as possible. The philosophy of hospice care is to treat the whole person by providing support for the patient’s emotional, social and spiritual needs as well as their medical symptoms.
An inquest is a legal inquiry into the causes and circumstances of a death.
This is a generic term for someone who has been appointed as an executor or administrator of a person’s assets or estate.
Life limiting illness
A life limiting illness is a condition which cannot be cured and will shorten your expected life span.
Lasting power of attorney
A lasting power of attorney is a legal term for the person you have put in charge of your medical and/or financial decisions when you can no longer make them. Your attorney needs to understand and agree to carry out your wishes regarding your end of life care. This may include your medical treatment, so it is important that they know what stage of illness you would choose to forgo certain therapies or artificial life support.
The Liverpool care pathway for the dying
The Liverpool care pathway is a care plan for people who are dying. It is being replaced by an individual end of life plan which aims to ensure people are able to have a good death.
Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ to someone who needs a transplant.
Palliative care is the holistic care of patients with advanced progressive illness. Its aim is to achieve the best quality of life and make death a normal, natural process. Palliative care provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms and integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care. It also offers a support system so that patients can live as actively as possible until death and their families can cope during their illness and bereavement .
A personal representative is responsible for carrying out certain tasks after somebody has died, such as dealing with their assets and estate. If they are named in a will, they are called the executor. If there is no will or they are not named in the will, they are called the administrator.
A post-mortem, or autopsy, is the examination of a body after death. Its aim is to establish the medical cause of death.
Is the right to deal with the estate/assets of someone who has died.
A second opinion is when you ask another doctor to review your diagnosis and treatment plan. Your GP can help you to organise this. It is important to note there may be a cost associated with it.
The yellow folder is a patient’s record of their end of life care planning documents. It often contains an advance care plan and resuscitation documentation. The yellow folder is being used across Surrey and Kent as a communication tool to improve palliative and end of life care.