Planning for death helps families
It is often said there are two certainties in life – death and taxes. As chartered accountants we deal with both , however many people do not adequately plan for their death.
If your affairs are not seriously evaluated regularly and correctly structured, the consequences that flow from your death can be devastating, not only for your family but also employees, trustees and advisers.
What would you do if you had the foresight and courage to plan for your death?
If you had warning and time to prepare, some things you could consider having in
place include the following:
Visualise the difficulties your surviving family and personal representatives will face, particularly if you die suddenly or unexpectedly, or suffer permanent mental disability.
This will help you appreciate that one file containing key documents will be invaluable to your loved ones, those you have chosen as your personal representatives, trustees of your trusts, and your accountant and lawyer.
This is a centralised place for life and health insurance documents, notes on funeral arrangements, wills, advance directives and enduring powers of attorney for health care.
We recommend you keep this file in a fireproof box at home.
Ensure your personal representatives and some family members know where it is.
It can also be a good idea to let your accountant have copies of some papers as well.
If you and your husband or wife have wills that are more than, say, five years old or you have never made one, make them now.
Change is often a prompt to review your will, for example, if you marry or divorce, have children, change your ownership structures or if your family circumstances change.
If one or both of you die, there may be complications settling the estate, particularly if you have children from previous marriages.
When reviewing and making wills, you should consult your advisory team including your lawyer and accountant.
This document is not legally binding but can provide your trustees and personal representatives with guidance in relation to your wishes for the care and education of your children and instructions for dealing with jewellery and furniture. standby line of credit, if you have not yet built up an emergency fund.
When you are in a stressful situation, it is tough to think about what you should do first, much less who to contact for help or support in the days and weeks afterward.
Take some time to create a useful phone list you can refer to in an emergency.
Include everyone – doctors, babysitters, human resource managers at your work, lawyers, financial planners, bankers and credit card companies.
Also add your cell phone contacts and add this to your Guide to the living file or keep in an obvious place.
Contact your lawyer to discuss these further if you do not already have them.
Thinking in terms of getting sick or dying six months from now puts a fine point on your survivor’s need to know where your assets are.
The process of putting together a will may help you focus on estate issues, but a helpful gesture would be the creation of a statement of all your savings, investments and other key assets.
It may seem trivial to some, but pet care is one of the most overlooked areas of planning. Pre-arrange their care with a friend or loved one in the case of your incapacity or death.
Having the courage to consider the future and be prepared will help guide your loved ones at this traumatic time.