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Difficult questions

A friendly ear
NomoneyNohoney
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Difficult questions

#342754

Postby NomoneyNohoney » September 25th, 2020, 12:18 pm

This is awkward to write, for reasons that will explain themselves.

I have a sister who was recently widowed, and I am her next of kin. She has no children, and I am her only sibling. She lives about 2 hours away from me.
She is having treatment for cancer and it seems each day the outlook is gloomier and gloomier. Thinking ahead, I can foresee a time when she will go into hospital and not come out. If that happens, what is the usual procedures to follow?

I assume that the hospital will have asked her who is her next of kin, and that is me. Or, will they have asked who to notify, or some such thing? She has friends whose details I don't know, so how will I know that she has died? Will the hospital automatically notify me*, or will I get a phone call from someone, saying, "You don't know me but I'm a friend of your sister and she just died."

After that comes the arrangements and documentation.
If she died and I don't have keys to her house, is it normal to visit, break a window (I assume after explaining to the local police who you are and what you're up to,) to secure any valuables and find a will? (*If the hospital notified me, would they also pass on her personal effects, house keys etc.?) Is that my 'prerogative' for want of a better word? Or do I keep a distance, and see if anyone else steps up as being tasked with making funeral arrangements, and to handle the assets disposal wishes expressed in her will?

Would a will say who she wants to be her executor(s) or would that automatically be my responsibility?

+

This all seems very gutty to explain and consider, contemplating what to do before her body it's happened. In view of her illnesses, I don't want to have a conversation that could be construed as me being mercenary, but equally, I want to be sure that anything that should be organised or done has been. I honestly can't bring myself to say something to her like, "Where have you put your will?" even though it would solve various questions. What is the "normal" procedures at a time like this?

Clariman
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Re: Difficult questions

#342757

Postby Clariman » September 25th, 2020, 12:24 pm

Hi NmNh.
Long time no speak. Sorry to hear of your sister's illness. If she has a will, then it should state who the executors and beneficiaries of her will are. If she dies without a will then I think the authorities will track you down as next of kin.

Are you in contact and on reasonable terms with your sister? If so, discussing arrangements and final wishes is a conversation you ought to have at some point. More accurately it's a conversation that she should have with whoever she wants to handle her affairs when the time comes.

C

NomoneyNohoney
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Re: Difficult questions

#342761

Postby NomoneyNohoney » September 25th, 2020, 12:32 pm

Hello Mr. C!!!
The key thing then is her will. Would the will somehow surface following her death, or, as I assume, would it need to be found in her house? If so, then is a break-in for the purpose of locating that will a normal thing to contemplate, or is there some more legitimate procedure to follow?

If the hospital automatically notify me and pass on her effects, then surely I'd have her keys, which sidestep this weird situation.Do hospitals only deal with next of kin?

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Re: Difficult questions

#342769

Postby Clariman » September 25th, 2020, 12:45 pm

NomoneyNohoney wrote:The key thing then is her will. Would the will somehow surface following her death, or, as I assume, would it need to be found in her house


Her solicitor would normally hold a copy of her will and it is likely she would have one at home somewhere.

If so, then is a break-in for the purpose of locating that will a normal thing to contemplate, or is there some more legitimate procedure to follow?


I'm sorry I don't know. You really don't want that to be necessary. Hence my suggestion that you need to have a conversation.

You also need to consider that she might not have a will in which case that makes things more complicated and more protracted. Hence better to have the conversation again.
If the hospital automatically notify me and pass on her effects, then surely I'd have her keys, which sidestep this weird situation.Do hospitals only deal with next of kin?

I'd imagine the hospital will ask her who they should contact. She may not give a name. It may not be you but it probably will be.

However I'd urge you to have the conversation in advance. A suitable opportunity should arise if you are on good terms.

C

PinkDalek
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Re: Difficult questions

#342770

Postby PinkDalek » September 25th, 2020, 12:50 pm

NomoneyNohoney wrote:... I assume that the hospital will have asked her who is her next of kin, and that is me. Or, will they have asked who to notify, or some such thing?


Can you see anything on the hospital's website?

Similar to this describing a medical next of kin https://www.patients-association.org.uk/next-of-kin which, as they say, is not defined in UK law.

Commencing extract only:

Your medical next of kin is someone you nominate to receive information about your medical care.

If you have not chosen a next of kin, it will usually be assumed to be a close blood relative, spouse or civil partner.

They will be kept informed about your care.

This is separate to an inheritance next of kin which is not covered by this leaflet. ...

Dod101
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Re: Difficult questions

#342775

Postby Dod101 » September 25th, 2020, 1:20 pm

I am very sorry to hear about your sister. I assume you are on reasonably good terms with her, and that being the case, I would go and see her, giving her some comfort at this very difficult time. It is very probable that if she wants you to be the main contact, she will steer the conversation in the direction of what happens when? In my experience, people can be surprisingly direct in such a situation. It may not happen on the first visit but it will very likely be raised by her when things are looking pretty grim.

Unless you do not have contact with her, it is surely very likely that she will give your name to the hospital on admission. Again in my experience, hospitals always ask for the next of kin so that they have a contact if the patient dies. The last thing they want is to have a body on their hands, or at least lying in their morgue.

As for entry to her house, she will presumably have keys with her in hospital. I think that will be the least of your concerns (if you are her nominated next of kin and her executor) You will only have the right to gain entry to her house if you are nominated by her as her executor.

I would go and see her out of presumably genuine concern for her and I should think that the rest will fall into place.

If she lives alone, I assume it is unlikely that she would want to die at home anyway?

Dod

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Re: Difficult questions

#342785

Postby Sunnypad » September 25th, 2020, 2:19 pm

I really feel for you both

I’m guessing there is no relationship or a bad one? The simplest thing would be to talk to her and hope that she lets you know any relevant info but I’m guessing that’s not possible. Also, who keeps an eye in her home?

It doesn’t have to be a mercenary conversation. You could simply ask if there’s anything she’d like to you to sort out, now or later.

I would not even contemplate breaking and entering, if there’s anything you need to know, you will be contacted. If it turns out she’s not made any arrangements, then whoever collects her personal belongings will surely collect the keys. It might be that you get a call from the hospital or one of her friends.

All good wishes to you both.

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Re: Difficult questions

#342791

Postby PinkDalek » September 25th, 2020, 2:32 pm

NomoneyNohoney wrote:The key thing then is her will. ...


That for when she is no longer with us.

Whilst she is alive, you may also wish to establish if your sister has prepared a Lasting power of attorney or an old style Enduring power of attorney (possibly naming you as an attorney) and what it says, with particular regard to LPA for financial decisions and LPA for health and care decisions.

See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/881736/opg100-find-out-if-someone-has-a-registered-attorney-or-deputy.pdf

More background here:

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/legal-issues/power-of-attorney/

didds
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Re: Difficult questions

#343737

Postby didds » September 29th, 2020, 3:29 pm

Clariman wrote:Her solicitor would normally hold a copy of her will and it is likely she would have one at home somewhere.



True. If of course one knows who said solictor is. Unless there is something in various systems that flag up death of X and thus X has a will registered with Solcitor S? Which of course could have been subsequently made redundant via a new will, self penned etc of course.

Our wills were drawn up by a solicior that has now closed and doesn't exist any longer. Ive no idea what would have happened to any of their paperwork that they may have (?) retained such as our wills although possibly somebody like the law society may know this. And now you are back to knowing who the solicitors were. [we have copies at home and with the executors named in them]

In essence this is NMNH's dilemma... knowing "nothing".

And so for what its worth, and its easy for me to say this, I echo Clariman's thoughts and feel NMNH will need to have that chat with the sister to to check what is or is not in place.

Secondary question...

If paramedics get called to a patient's (lone occupancy etc) home and they need to take the patient to hospital (who may be unconsious or unrepsonsive etc ) , who locks the house up and then has the keys ? If anybody? This may at least be a partial answer to NMNH's question, though it also raises a query of what if any keys cannot be found at that juncture.

didds

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Re: Difficult questions

#343810

Postby Sobraon » September 29th, 2020, 11:33 pm

@ Didds re:Secondary question...
Just asked Mrs S this question as she is in the know. The Ambulance service would call the Police ( Ambulance service don't break in). The Police would ensure the flat/house/etc. was secure and not leave it open ( Council/HA for Council/HA housing, on call locksmith for private if needed).

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Re: Difficult questions

#343905

Postby bungeejumper » September 30th, 2020, 11:42 am

didds wrote:If paramedics get called to a patient's (lone occupancy etc) home and they need to take the patient to hospital (who may be unconsious or unrepsonsive etc ) , who locks the house up and then has the keys ? If anybody? This may at least be a partial answer to NMNH's question, though it also raises a query of what if any keys cannot be found at that juncture.

Don't know whether this helps, but I once had to call on the police to break into a house 100 miles away that I didn't own. (It belonged to my ex-wife, the former matrimonial home, and she was upstairs and in urgent medical need). They didn't need any second bidding, they just went ahead and got the job done as soon as they'd established who I was.

I'd "authorised" them (discuss ;)) to make a forcible entry if required, although fortunately a neighbour had a key. The mission was successful, anyway, and nobody ever queried that I'd done the right thing. Least of all the police. :|

BJ

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Re: Difficult questions

#343911

Postby scrumpyjack » September 30th, 2020, 11:59 am

Also do you know who are your sister's close local friends? If so, perhaps you could give them a call to see what support your sister is getting.

When you talk to your sister you can raise this point as well and ask her if it is OK for you to talk to them about making sure she has the support she needs.

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Re: Difficult questions

#343949

Postby JohnB » September 30th, 2020, 1:47 pm

The OP doesn't sound very close to his sister, but I still hope he could have difficult conversations. He needs to have contact details for neighbours, in case he rings and no-one answers. He needs to know about the will, he may be the executor, and needs to understand his sister's wishes for the funeral and who to inform, and payments to be made outside the will. He needs to know the location of the document box, or that someone else knows. This is not mercenary, it will just make everyone's lives easier at a difficult time. Why not get the sister to install a key-box, so access can be granted remotely. If her decline is likely to be rapid and not involve loss of capacity, all the bother of getting PoAs with their witnessed signatures is probably not worth the bother.

She must be contemplating her mortality, as her brother he should help her with a plan.

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Re: Difficult questions

#347638

Postby PaulBullet » October 14th, 2020, 1:44 pm

You could simply ask if there’s anything she’d like to you to sort out, now or later.


Great words

next time you speak/text simply add this to the conversation and see how things go

Paul


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