With the current Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, pensioners are seriously at risk when, not only their health, but their ability to provide for their loved ones can be compromised by poor decisions and by not being prepared.
The ability to rectify these bad decisions after the fact is often limited. During times of crises, most people do not want to be reminded of their mortality. To make it much easier for your loved ones it is always a good idea to organise all the relevant and important documents and information and have them handy when they need it.
Here are 11 practical steps to take when deciding what to include and what to do when you, or a loved one, dies. Keep these documents safely in a folder and tell someone you can trust where it is kept.
- Check your last will and testament regularly to make sure it is up to date. This could include removing beneficiaries who are no longer relevant, adding new ones such as grandchildren, or changing allocations. Make sure you have a signed copy as well as the name and telephone number of the place where the original is kept.
- Make a list of all your assets and liabilities. Include a copy of title deeds to all the properties you own, or co-own, as well as the details of any insurance on the property. Add the details of all your investments as well as the person or firm that manages your investments.
- Also keep copies of your ID document, marriage certificate, prenuptial agreement, firearms licens=ce(s) and divorce order (where applicable) in the folder as well.
- Make a list of all the relevant passwords to your mobile, computer, your bank account, important websites you access, such as social media platforms, your Internet service provider, municipality details and the code (security word/phrase) for your home alarm.
- Place a copy of the bank statements of all your accounts in the folder and replace them with more recent ones annually. Write down the details of all the debit orders, subscriptions, and contributions, from payments you make to your medical aid and charities to your Internet service provider and household utilities. Even include the details of paid-for apps on your mobile phone.
- Put all your income tax information, including the name and contact details of the person who does your taxes, as well as your access details to Sars e-Filing in the folder.
- Check that the beneficiaries you have nominated to a retirement annuity fund, or living annuity, or a guaranteed annuity with a payment guarantee or a life assurance policy are correct. Keep a written record of everything and mention these beneficiaries in your will as a backup.
- Include the ownership certificate(s) of all your vehicle(s), including the short-term insurance policies and vehicle tracking accounts.
- Should you have a funeral policy, include a copy and details in the folder.
- Make a list, together with their contact details, of important people that should be contacted. These include your attorney, financial planner, estate executor, doctor, good friends, and family members. Should you have beneficiaries who live overseas, include their contact details and information to make sure the estate administration is not delayed.
- Lastly, but maybe also most importantly, write letters to your loved ones. Include your last wishes in terms of the funeral, where and how you want to be buried or cremated. Include details of organ donation and contact details as well.
By doing the above you provide certainty and comfort during a time when the people close to you are in shock and in many cases unable to think clearly about these important elements of providing for your loved ones after your death.
Ascor developed an easy-to-use survivor’s checklist of things to do when your spouse dies. It can be found here.