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Help needed today - relative dying and no idea what to do legally

(3 Posts)
alabasterangel Tue 06-Jan-15 14:08:05

I'll try to put this all down to make the situation clear.

I have a very small family and we are all 'close'. My 2nd cousin (so my grandmothers sisters daughter) is dying in hospital, unexpectedly, at a youngish age ( 50's). She has no spouse, DC or parents. Her next of kin is my 81 year old grandmother and my grandmothers younger sister who is 75. The only other family member are me, my mum and my mums brother.

My GM and great aunt are consumed by what is going on at the hospital (of course) and have been told that she is going on a 'pathway' type situation and will only survive for days, or maybe weeks. Her death is 90% certain but if by some fluke she survives she will 'never be in a fit state to care for herself again' and her brain function has been hugely affected. They are bereft and not coping very well and are certainly not in a state to be thinking about anything other than her medical condition. My grandma is not a spritely 81 year old and needs a lot of support herself.

My mother and I are concerned about our cousins 'affairs', particularly any will or documents which may contain her wishes relating to funeral etc or living will arrangements. she was very close to my Mum but despite my Mum making her own 'wishes' known to her, she has never disclosed hers by return. We have her keys and are thinking it is probably time for me and my Mum (my Grandma is consenting to this) to go in and look for any paperwork.

We don't know what exactly we should be looking for - a will? Solicitors papers? Given that she may continue to live for weeks, and at the outside chance survive but need care, should we be looking to gain power of attorney? What should we do with the valuable stuff in her house? She has lots and lots of jewellery, mostly inherited, and the house is very isolated and doesn't have alarms and so on. Should we remove it? Leave it? Tell insurers? I don't even know who the insurers are!

I'm a bit confused as to what we should be doing for the best. If anyone can advise then I would be very grateful.

greenfolder Tue 06-Jan-15 20:36:04

Well someone has to take charge. In your situation I would look to secure the property. Being practical,turning off the water,checking locks and putting lights on a timer. Is there a trusted neighbour that can collect post? Removing valuables is very sensible but make sure they are insured if they are in your keeping. Checkto see if there is an occupancy clause on the household policy. I think that is she is likely to pass soon I would just wait and see rather than getting poa. Hopefully there will be a will which should make it easier.

alabasterangel Tue 06-Jan-15 22:09:38

Thank you. Am going this weekend, taking the bull by the horns!

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