Don’t leave a financial mess for your family to clean up
It’s not something any of us like to think about. But the reality is that one day, you won’t be here anymore. And while your loved ones are grieving, you don’t also want them facing the task of having to sort out a financial mess.
Here’s 5 simple steps you can take to protect the important people in your life
- Sort out your assets and bank accounts
We all know how tricky banks can be to deal with – and that’s when you’re alive, let alone when you’re no longer here and someone else needs to access your accounts!
- Check with your bank who might have access to your bank accounts when you die, and how they could get access.
- You should also review your assets. Determine what they are and which can be passed directly to beneficiaries, and if any will have to go through your estate.
- If you’re the sole owner of a property it will become an asset of your estate and you’ll need to deal with it in your will.
- Or if you own a property with a partner as joint tenants, the property will automatically transfer to your partner when you die.
- Check your life insurance and super
Life insurance is a great way to making sure the financial needs of your partner, child or anyone else who depends on you are taken care of if you’re gone.
- You might think you don’t have any, but if you’re employed you may have some cover through your superannuation fund.
- This cover will pay a lump cash sum to your nominated beneficiaries in the event of your death. It can be used to pay off your debts or provide an income for your dependents.
- Be sure to regularly review the nominated beneficiaries on your super and life insurance policies to be sure this money goes where you’d want it to.
- Involve your partner
Make sure that your partner knows and understands your wishes for your finances.
- If something unexpected were to happen to you your partner should at least have a basic idea of what assets and liabilities you have and who helps you manage them.
- Consider having a secure place to leave detailed instructions on how to access joint assets such as bank and investment accounts – but don’t store passwords with log in details.
- Will it be so?
Write a valid will so that you can be sure any assets you have will be given to the people you want.
- Review your will on a regular basis or whenever your circumstances change.
- Be aware of events that may invalidate your will, for example, a new marriage will void your will.
- Be sure to spell out who should have legal guardianship of your children should something happen to both of their parents.
- Get your important documents in order
Do what you can to make things a little easier for the person who’ll be managing your estate.
- Make sure they can easily locate all of your financial information and important documents.
- Perhaps set up a file – both electronically and in a hard copy – listing all your assets, liabilities, insurance policies and other financial information.
- Include details such as the financial institution, account number, name of the account, policy provider, policy number and any other details they might need.
- Be sure to keep this information secure, and don’t include passwords or other access details that only you should know.