Plan­ning for death helps fam­i­lies

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By GRANT EDDY and LEANNE SIL­VESTER

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.

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