Getting Your Affairs in Order

20 June 2014

“Getting your Affairs in order”. . . The expression conjures stern faced Doctors addressing patients with devastating news that the patient is not expected to survive. But getting your affairs in order when your financial and personal situation demands is far better than waiting on “the news”.

There are 2 main reasons why people do not plan for their ultimate demise:

They think they will have time to sort things out – while a large number of people do have some notice on when we may leave this world, many do not. And really would you want to spend your last moments rushing around finalising wills, location of insurance policies etc or would you want to spend it with your family?

They don’t want to think about the worst happening – this is definitely the most common reason. This can place the family and loved ones at substantial risk.

Recently one of the local Accounting firms introduced a fantastic initiative called a “Life Organiser”. It is a file that includes personal, business, financial, property, and insurance details for clients so in the event the worst happens the necessary parties are able settle the estate quickly, with the least amount of stress and in accordance with the person’s final wishes. We think this is a brilliant innovation and encourage our clients to utilise this service.

The file should include the original insurance policies confirming what cover is in place and to what agency. These documents are needed to lodge the claim for the life insurance and if the policies are not available replacements can be ordered but while the cost to get replacement policies is minor it can cause lengthy delays.

Often people will have several insurance policies and arrangements with several different policies. There could be ones that the individual has specifically arranged themselves or ones they have through work, or even ones that they acquired with some credit facilities (eg credit cards, personal loans etc). Some of these policies can be overlooked and there are many unclaimed insurance policies that could have offered some relief to family left behind. Having the details in one file is a great way to ensure that everything that the estate is eligible for (and has been paid for) is realised.

Many people will have Wills but many do not. Going through the process of putting a Life Organiser together can highlight any areas that need attention. If there is a Will in place and if it is up to date. It can also include the Memorandum of Wishes which is a more abstract descriptive version of what someone wants to happen to their Trust assets when they go.

These Life Organisers shouldn’t be done just when you think something will happen. It should be done when your situation means that if something were to happen to you tomorrow that your family would be financially compromised if you didn’t have these plans in place. Some “events” that could be used as a prompt would be taking on a new partner, having children, increasing your financial exposure (taking on debt). After all you don’t buy a motor car and drive off only to put your seatbelt on when you’re about to have an accident. You have it on at the start of your journey. And furthermore we recommend that these be reviewed on a regular basis – preferably annually.



Published In Whakatane Beacon

This post was written by

Trish Marsden - who has written 96 posts

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