A checklist to prepare your financial affairs for the inevitable

Natural or unexpected, your death can place a massive administrative burden on your loved ones long after you have passed if you do not have your financial affairs in order.

 

Having a ‘ready to depart’ file with all the necessary documentation and information needed in the event of your passing will assist your family with access to your will, living will, passwords and title deeds for example – having all of these documents in a single file or folder allows for ease of reference and access during what is probably an extremely emotional and stressful time for them.

 

In the event of an emergency or death the following documents are crucial to include in your personal ‘ready to depart’ file, which can be kept in a safe or filed with your lawyer for safe keeping while you are alive:

  1. The contact details of your lawyer, insurance broker, financial advisers, doctors and tax consultants all of whom need to be notified when you pass away

  2. A copy of your will and your living will (communicating your desire not to be kept on life support)

  3. Medical information and history for yourself and other dependent family members

  4. Unabridged birth certificates for each member of the family

  5. Your ID book or card and Driver’s license

  6. Your Marriage certificate

  7. Should you have one, a copy of your ante nuptial contract

  8. In the case of being divorced, copies of any divorce and maintenance agreements

  9. In the event that you are widowed, certified copy of your late partners’ death certificate as well as information of the executor who attended to the deceased estate of your deceased partner

  10. The most updated tax assessment for both yourself and your partner

  11. Passwords or pins for phones, computers and bank accounts, encrypted using an app like LastPass to keep them safe.

  12. Bank details – cheque, credit card, vehicle finance, bond and call accounts

  13. A list of debit orders that go off every month, when they go off and how much they usually are

  14. Your current employer details and employee number

  15. A comprehensive list of insurance, pension funds, trusts and investments

  16. Copies of insurance and funeral policies as well as contact information to reach the insurance company

  17. Copies of lease agreements between you and a lessee

  18. Copies of house and car insurance policies

  19. Medical aid and gap cover policies

  20. Copies of updated utility documents

  21. Firearm details

  22. Car ownership documentation

  23. Title deeds of all your properties (if you have a bond over the property, the title deed should be with the bank)

  24. Various documents if you own a business or shares of a company, such as partnership agreements

  25. Letters for desired funeral arrangements

 

While extensive, this list is not entirely comprehensive as no two individuals are alike or have the same policies and as such it is important to start the conversation with a financial adviser or legal professional to make sure your personal “ready to depart” file is regularly updated before you pass away.

 

ENDS

 

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