01 Jun What if you have a Will but your affairs are not in order?
What if you have a Will but your affairs are not in order?
The good news is, you have a Will. Somewhere. The bad news is that you have not told your partner where you put it.
Truth be told, you are not sure yourself. You are convinced you did the responsible thing and filed it. The question is, which file (as you ponder the dusty row of clip files on a shelf groaning under their collective weight)? You ask your partner anyway. Nope, but you had better find it before your sky diving course next week – the probable need for medical attention is implied but not mentioned – and while you’re at it (finger wagging in the general direction of the dilapidated files), the title deed on the house, the certificates of registration for the cars, your life insurance policy, our marriage certificate… Your partner is right, even if the approach lacks a certain sensitivity!
We hate to say this, but no one knows when they are going to die. Remember, someone will have to assume responsibility for administering your estate when it happens. When we tell you that finalising a deceased estate is not child’s play, we are not kidding. It will take the executor of your estate anything from one to five years to wind up your estate – longer if they cannot find the crucial documents.
And while this is underway, your bank accounts will remain frozen. Snapped shut while the locks rust. If your affairs are in a shambles, we urge you to take a few hours out of one day soon to collate and consolidate all the documents that the executor will need to finalise your estate and see your family right. Store the documents manually or electronically, just do it.
The most important documents (certified copies) are:
- Your will (and indicate where the original is located).
- Any signed codicils.
- Birth certificate.
- Marriage certificate, if applicable.
- Ante-nuptial contract, if applicable.
- Identity number.
- Tax reference number.
- Sources of income.
- Bank account numbers (current, savings and fixed deposit).
- Insurance policies, share certificates and investment account details.
- Title deeds on properties.
- Certificates of registration for any vehicles.
- Gun licenses, if applicable.
Then share this information with someone you trust. Your attention to this task will make a significantly positive difference to your family in time.